Saturday, November 7, 2015

11/7/15 Puddle Jump 10K

I ran the 10K here in 2010, maybe the first year of the event.  It was a long course and there were other problems with how the race was put on.  I came back for the 5K in 2013 and found it much improved.  Its on my B list of races.  Nice because it is local, but no compelling reason to run it.  I was not registered and it was not until Thursday that I realized I could go do this and be back home before Jody was back from her Saturday morning run with Nickie. 

Could have had a 40 mile week, but I took Friday off to rest up a bit.  Recovery from Dog Lake has been rough.  Tight sore calfs and quads for over a week.  Just starting to feel better in the past couple of days.  I hope to run sub 50 minutes today, just get in some miles, not stress about it and have fun.

$35 Day of race, same price for the 5K and 10K.  Since I am one of the first ones there this morning, they still have T-shirts, so I get that and a little bag with lip balm, deoderant and a rubber bracelet for my collection.

Rain.  Off and on.  Not too stormy, but it will be a wet one for sure.  New start/finish right at the school.  This will allow the 10K to not have to cross a road just before the turn around.  I do a half mile warm up and feel ready to go.  They have the 10K start five minutes before the 5K and we are all lined up with a few minutes before the start time.  I let the announcer know that it is Terra's birthday, so we all sing to her.

Start - I positioned well, plus we have plenty of room, so I just do my thing from the get go. 

Mile 0.1 - Oh yes, this is the race with the mile marker at 0.1 miles.  Later we will have markers at 0.6, 1.1 and so forth.  Pass Judy Fisher.  Nice to have her just behind me so that I can run scared the whole way. 

Mile 1 - 7:39 - Faster than I expected. Terra getting smaller up ahead.  I feel good and settle into the pace.  Wet leaves on the trail,  no big puddles though.  I have run and raced this paved trail many times.

Mile 3.1 - Reach the turn around.  Stop for a brief drink of water.  Legs are good, it is more my breathing that is labored and making it hard to hold this pace.

Mile 3.6 - One guy catches me and we run together for a while.  It seems like he wants to pass me, but I hold on.  Nice to have some one right there with me.  Finally after at least a half mile, he pulls ahead.  I try to focus on the running, but I keep day dreaming.  Spotted Towhee flies by.  I will have to remember  to add that to my monthly bird list.  I really need to think about the running! 

Mile 4.6 - Merge with the 5K walkers.  Not too many of them and easy enough to navigate around.  Start doing math and that sub 50 minutes is looking probably.  Its hard work, but I keep up the pace as best I can.

Finish - 6.23 miles on the GPS.  Terra came in second overall female.  Judy Fisher not far behind me.  I am really happy with my time and how the legs felt.  So glad that I decided to race today.

No raffle for me, but I do earn first in my age group (out of 4) and get this very cool metal sculpture:

12th of 52

Monday, October 26, 2015

10/24/15 Dog Lake Marathon

My first time here.  Fifth running of this little event.  The half has grown and is sold out.  The full remains a small race.

Two attractions for me do this. First the course is net over 2,000 feet downhill.  It should compare to the Light at the End of the Tunnel race and be a fast finish time.  The second is that the race starts about two miles from our little White Pass Village Inn condo.  So it is a good reason to check up on the place.

The course is point to point.  They have shuttles but with Jody's help it is logistically very easy.  Up at 6:30, head right out the door and drive about 8 miles to the Silver Beach Resort.  Lone volunteer is there in the dark ready early to hand out numbers.  I get mine so fast, I am back in the condo before 7 and even try to go back to sleep.

8:40 - Jody drives me to the start.  It is cool but not so cold.  I decide to leave the jacket in the car.  I will wear the hat most of the way, but be quite comfortable with the temperature.  Surprised to see Phil who is going to pace Linda for the second half.  Then I check in with Miranda, and those are the only people I know here.

My plan is to go for a fast time today.

Start - We head out to the Highway and start running downhill.  The course is mostly on Highway 12, on the shoulder, and running with traffic.  The Sheriff is out in force, especially at the start.  We were told to wear bright colors and I am never in fear of the traffic today.  Volunteers are at the couple of places where there is little shoulder.  Right from the start it is a screaming downhill.

Mile 1 - 8:19 - So easy to go this fast.  My plan was to run at a good pace and try to keep it at 8:30 if I felt good.

Mile 2 - 8:17 average pace

Mile 4 - 8:17 average pace - um this is way faster than I should be going.  It is still super downhill and easy.  I really should reign it in.

Mile 5 - 8:20 average pace.  By far the fastest five miles I have ever done in a marathon.  On pace to crush my PR, ha ha.

Mile 5.75 - Right turn off the highway and now a windy road around Clear Lake.  There is no shoulder, just a yellow line in the middle of the road.  Few cars, but you never know what may come around the bend, I run the tangents as much as I dare.

Mile 8 - Course has ups and downs here.  I am running a more normal pace, so I watch my average pace slowly rise.  Following a couple in bright green, and I will stay behind them for most of the race.  Aid station kid is offering Gu, but also wants to be so helpful and open the packet for you while you wait.  I grab one off the table and move on.

Mile 10 - Paved road, but now off the main road and it is a little bumpy.

Mile 11 - Onto a worse road.  Dirt and gravel, with giant potholes.  My car could not handle this road.  We had been promised a steep uphill and I don't think we have hit it yet.  There were a couple of longer uphills and maybe one of those was the big one.

Mile 12 - Nope.  Here is the hill.  It is really steep.  I walk most of it, taking the time for a drink and S!Cap.  Then out to the Highway and off the rough roads.

Mile 13.1 - Average pace is 8:50.  Half finish.  Now it is a straight shot down the highway.  But as I leave the crowd at the half finish, it starts to get lonely out here.  Green shirt couple is a tenth of a mile ahead of me.  I will get passed later on and pass a few also, but never run with anyone.

Mile 15 - 8:52 average pace.  Legs getting tired. The road is mostly flat with a little up and some down.  I am counting the miles to the finish, and it is way too early for that.  A bit of pain on my second to smallest toe on my right foot.  It will bug me the whole way but not as bad as the legs do.

Mile 16 - My hope that the net downhill road part here would allow me to keep running strong has been shattered.  This is tough.  My calf muscles hurt and all up and down my legs are just not right.  I can run, but really slowly.

Mile 18 - Beautiful course.  I can run, but it hurts and is not fun.  Walk some, then find that slow groove again.  Tunnel is neat, but too dark.  Now a really nice downhill.  Wish it would stay like this the whole way, but it levels out and has some little uphills too.  I won't beat 4 hours

Mile 22 - Jody drives by and gets some pics.  Hoping for a 4:10 finish.  Being passed is no fun.  I try to keep up good spirits.  Joke at the aid stations.

Mile 24 - Still slowing.  Horrible second half.  But I tried.  If I run this again, I will not go out so fast at the start.  I also know that the course is not as easy as it appears on the map.  It has been awesome to run on this course and if I do not run it again, I know that I will make this drive every so often and remember being able to run here.

Mile 26 - I can see the finish and it looks very far away.  I speed up some, but don't over do it, easing in to the end.

Mile 26.2 - 26.37 on the GPS.  Great to have Jody here. Calf muscles hurt the most and I am really stiff.  An hour later I am still feeling very stiff and this is the worst my legs have felt in a long time.  Try to drink lots of water and keep moving a little.

Remember the small pain in my toes?  I had forgotten about it.  Until back at the condo.  I can see the blood soaking through my shoe.  My sock is really bloody.  The foot looks awful.  I took a picture, but will spare the reader having to see it.  For most of the race, the toe nail of my smallest toe was digging into the side of the next toe and drawing blood.  Very minor injury that cleaned right up, but looked horrible.

Glad that I ran this one.  Parts of it I enjoyed.  The pain not so much and the tiny event on the highway shoulder is not my favorite.  I don't feel like I have to run it again, but I would not rule out a return to get revenge.

17th of 49
Race#368, Marathon or Ultra#131

Monday, October 12, 2015

10/10/15 Defiance 50K

6th annual event and my 5th time here.  This will be my 6th race in the past five weeks and although my body feels fine, I am a little mentally worn out from racing.  Yesterday, looking at the weather forecast, I was just not that excited to do this one.  But here I am, in the rain, sitting in my car in the dark, waiting for start time and organizing my things.

Rain stops, sun rises and its nice to be back here.  Lots of Olympians here for the shorter events, though it is Terra's first 50K.  Enough friendly Maniacs to fill out the long race. Logistically, course wise, value and overall vibe this is one of my favorite races.  I guess that I forgot that yesterday.

Loop 1 (2:02) - Find the Rogue Wave and her brother and we start off together.  So many runners on the first loop, but with the wide path along the water it goes well.  A little slowdown at the steps, then on to the trail at an easy pace.  About 2 miles in I take a short walk to get a drink and am passed by a large pack.  Running again I can see RW just ahead, but I don't want to work to pass those people.  I am right behind her for a while but gradually they pull away as I stay behind this group.

Mile 3 - The rain starts.  And boy does it come down.  The narrow trail before Fort Nisqually turns into a stream.  Serious flow of water on the small hills, giant puddles forming on the flats.  It will be a soaking mud fest from now on.  Runner a couple of people in front of me falls hard, but says he is fine and continues running ahead of me.  At least it will stay warm.  I will be so wet for the rest of the day, but won't start shivering until it is over.

Miles 4-10 - Crazy rain, otherwise uneventful.  I help a group find the left turn on the small trail (it is well marked in my opinion, but is a very narrow trail  off of a much wider one) they had over shot, just past the French Woman's cable.  As usual many people will miss turns at this race.  I try to not follow the herd and carefully look for the markers.  More volunteers on the course than in previous years and they are so helpful.  Someone stationed at hydrant 25 which is often a trouble spot.  Nellies Gnarly Descent is crazy fun as always.

Looking at past results I had thought that a 2 hour fist loop would be fine.  Hard to pace for it, with all the different speeds and the slow descent at the end, but today I run it in just under 2:02 and I feel great about that. Grab a small baked potato to eat and carry on the trail.

Loop 2 (2:09)- The Lone Wolf and RW are just setting out again when I catch them at the start of the loop.  We run the beach together and up the steps. I feel good and foolishly get ahead of them.  On my own now for a long time.  Rain is letting up.  Half a banana at the aid station.  Slow but steady around the course.  Start leapfrogging a woman (Christine) who will be near me all the way to the end.  Otherwise, some passing and some being passed.  Get lapped by the top two 50k racers about 1.5 miles from the end of my second loop.

Loop 3 ( 2:25)- Start off with another potato in hand.  Stomach doing great today.  There is a big crowd at the finish.  Martinho just ran the 30K and wants to tell me about it, but I am still running and have to get going on this loop before I decide to quit.  Jogging along the beach.  I get a great look at a seal, while apparently missing the humpback whale that was close to shore, just behind me.  Up the steps (for the last time today) and the sun is out.  I take off my jacket and hope for a nice sunny Fall last loop.  Walk when I want to, but lots of slow running.  So thankful for these shoes.  Brooks Adrenaline GTS trail shoe with Brooks infinity socks.  I have great grip in the mud and do not come close to falling at all.  Many people will tumble today.  That could be due to my slow careful pace too, I am hardly reckless on the trails.  Also I can just plow through the puddles.  Soaking my feet, it feels nice and cool.  A quarter mile later, if there were not any more puddles, my feet almost feel dry.  No blisters, no socks moving around, really happy with this set up.

Mile 23 - Wind starts to pick up, clouds roll in.  View to the Narrows Bridge and the Puget Sound is a churning frothy mess.  Big storm coming.

Mile 25 - I have this half run half walk thing that I do when tired.  I am doing it now as I round the Fort Nisqually for the 15th time in my history of racing here, last time for this year.  I will come back again, I love this race.  At the aid station they ask if I am OK because I am limping so much.  I feel fine, no pains at all, I just have a shuffle that looks like a limp.  Half a banana and back to the trail.  I try to get into a more steady run.  The rain is back now, big time.  Huge winds too.  Lots of fir needles and small branches coming down.  Up the exposed Achilles Hill, then down into the forest.

Back and forth with Christine.  Now just the three "easy" miles, then the road and it is essentially over.  Rain and wind letting up a little.  I am running and therefore I do not expect anyone to catch up to me.  But next thing I know, I hear my name and there is the Rogue Wave, who I last saw about 4 hours ago.  It is an energy boost and we run together on the wide trail.  Finally out to the longed for road signalling the end is near. She is running strong and I tell her to go first at the turn to the single track crazy bit.  Christine picked up the pace too and she is right behind me on the way down Nellies.  At the beach, I won't catch RW, but I slow a little and encourage Christine to run fast.  She comes in ahead of me, but my chip time gives me the edge.

Finish - My slowest Defiance 50K but I am happy.  Will come back for sure.

Only a few people left at the finish area.  But they have pizza for us.  And there is Mike Mahany.  He was ahead of me the whole way and I never saw him.  We decide to have a quick leg soak in the salt water, mostly jsut to get the mud off our legs and shoes.  We both regret missing the whale.

43rd of 76
Race#130, Marathon or Ultra#130, Defiance 50K #5

Sunday, October 4, 2015

10/4/15 Shuck and Share (Oysterfest) 5K Shelton WA

Jody is away visiting our grand-baby this weekend, so I found two races to do.  Yesterday was the Onalaska Apple fest 5K.  It was fun, but I was slow.  No pains though.  I am not pre registered for the Shuck and Run so I don't have to do it, but I want to.  Well at 5:30AM I am having second thoughts.  Close call on bailing and sleeping in, but I conquer the Blerch and hit the road to Shelton in time to register for the 8AM start.

$20 DOR, but I miss out on the socks by not registering earlier.  Cold today.  Long sleeves again.  I almost wear a beanie, but ditch it at the last minute.  Shorter warm up than yesterday.  One mile, then a couple of strides and I feel faster than yesterday.

I ran the 8K here in 2004, and the 5K in 2010.  I know that I won't beat my 22:17 from 5 years ago, just hoping to beat yesterday's time.  All pavement will help, but who knows?

Start - Missy Farr sighting and we start together.  Lots of kids and a great turn out for this fundraiser to help the PUD heat low income homes.  From the "Huff and Puff" trailhead and out to the road.  Plenty of room to run.

Mile 0.25 - Pack of mostly kids ahead.  I decide to surge a little and pass them.  Leaving Missy behind I wonder if that was a good idea to do that so early.  Left turn into the bright sun.

Mile 1 - 1.16 on the GPS.  7:25 by the watch, but almost 8 by the mile marker.  One kid passes me, but I am keeping up with everyone else.  Unlike yesterday, I have some runners right in front of me and it is a challenge to stick with them.  A couple of times I catch up to one, try to pass, but they take the challenge and surge ahead.  Left turn.

Mile 2 - These little hills are hard.  Legs feel it, but it is the breathing too.

Mile 2.5 - Final left turn and we can see the finish, it just looks so far away.  If my watch is right I should have a decent time, but if that first mile marker was right I will be pretty slow.  One guy is slowing a bit and I pull even but just can not pass him as he pulls away.  I have given it a good physical and mental effort today and have no regrets. No one passes me after mile 1.   Keep up the intensity until just before the end when I am just a little careful on the gravel.

Finish - 3.04 on the GPS.  Last mile was short to make up for the first long mile.  Very happy with my finish time.  Walk back a bit as I recover and there is Missy, very speedy herself.

Cool down jog on the Huff and Puff.  Put some warm clothes on, cheer on the finishers, and soon enough it is raffle time.  Everyone around me wins something really good, but not me today.  We are dismissed and as I get back to my car I realize that there were no age group awards.  Craig did the timing so results will be posted, probably soon.

20th place of 202
Race#366, 5K#95

Saturday, October 3, 2015

10/3/15 Onalaska Apple Fest 5K

Loved this little race when I first ran it two yeas ago.  Happy to be back, despite the hour drive.

My 365th race!  A year of races.  Before age 50, so I guess that means that I have run a race on 2% of my days.

4th race weekend in a row.  Half, trail full, full six days ago.  I toyed with doing a full today or tomorrow, but logistically and leg wise it did not seem wise.  There is another 5K tomorrow that I might do depending on how this one goes.  50K a week from today, so a little effort this weekend, then rest up.

Cloudy and cool, I will keep the long sleeves on.  See a fellow "Beat the Blerch" shirt wearer.

$20 registration day of race includes a pint glass.

Start - Narrow part of the trail, by the boat launch.  Hopefully we are lined up according to speed.  Race course instructions, thank the sponsors and we are off.  On to the slightly wider trail that has seen an upgrade since I was here last.  Nice crushed gravel all the way around and wider too.  There will not be the large angular rock that was in spots previously.  Still have to mind the footing.  Now I am behind a large pack and wishing I could get past.  Just then there is the cut off for the side trail that parallels this one for a bit.  The RD had said that we could take either one, as they are the same distance.  I take the lower route and only one of the runners ahead of me does the same.  It is a short bit, but I run as fast as I can and just come in ahead of the large pack.  None of them passes me, so it was a great decision.

Mile 1 - Around the lake and onto the roads.  Couple of turns.  A few runners ahead of me, staying even, but just too far away to feed off of.  I can not sense anyone behind me.  Long straight flat road and I have no excuse to not be fast here.  Other than tired legs.  No pain, I am moving well, but slower than I should be able to.  I also have not done a 5K or any speed work in 6 weeks.

Mile 1.5 - The turn on to Main street, which may or may not be closed as they are setting up for the parade and all the vendors are setting up tents.  Ahead of me they are running on the road so I follow.  Big truck passes me, then stops at one of the vendor tents, blocking this side of the road.  I go to the sidewalk, but that is completely blocked up ahead.  Back onto the road and I squeeze between the open truck door and a tent and warn the guy that there are a lot of runners just behind me.  Past him now, I make the turn back towards the lake.

Mile 2 - Last bit of road before the parking lot.  Trying to go fast here as I know the lake trail will slow me.  Car driving very slowly stops at the stop sign, T intersection, where I will turn right.  He is so close to the edge of the road with tall grass on the edge that I can not pass him on the right.  But he has his left blinker on and I am afraid that he will proceed out and to the left just as I get in front of him.  I can not stay to the right so I go to the left of him, get along side the car and it does pull out and to the left.  I have to stop and wait for him to turn, then I am on my way.  Frustrating but I keep a good attitude, and kept safety first.

Now around the lake again.  Wondering if I can beat my time from two years ago, but it will not be close.  Trying to run hard.  I am not too surprised though when I hear footsteps behind me.  Strong runner pouring it on for the finish.  First person to pass me since the start.

Mile 3.1 - Off the trail and into the finish shoot.  3.16 on the GPS, with a slightly different course from 2013.  Congratulate the guy who passed me.

Recover, spectate, help direct some runners, jog around till awards time.  Only race I know of that does a group photo after the awards.

3rd in age group (40-49) ribbon, and then I win a entry for next year.  Hope I can make it!

15th of about 103
Race#365, 5K#94, Onalaska Apple Fest 5K#2

Monday, September 28, 2015

9/27/15 Bellingham Bay Marathon

Ninth year in a row here!  Since I ran the GOAT Marathon last weekend, I do not expect to do too well today.  This week was rough recovery, so I dropped my Friday run and only did two easy short runs this week just to stay loose and rest up.

Ride the bus with Deb.  Always nice to see her and catch up. We are tied at 128 lifetime marathons or ultras. 

Warm waiting area and welcome from the Lummis.  Out to the start and it is cold in my singlet, but I know it will warm up.  Sun just rising.

Start - Smooth start.  I positioned well and am running comfortably from the beginning.  Nice easy pace, don't really have to work to pass anyone.  Pacers help with that.  A mile into it and I find myself behind a large group with the 4:00 pacer.

Mile 4 - Stay behind the 4:00 group, leaving plenty of room to see the road, yet letting the pacer set my pace.  I feel good and think about passing them, to catch up with Mica or PK who I can see ahead.  But this is a dumb idea and I decide to stay right here. A few words with two fist time marathoners.  I like how this race has a mix of Maniacs and newbies.  No one seems very concerned about finish time today, just out to get it done.  Photo by Deb.

Mile 6 - Mel Preedy sighting!  He took the early start and will finish today in 7 hours.

Mile 12 - Nice temperature and bright sun.  Glad I have a hat, but wish I had brought sunglasses.  Right about here my legs go sore.  Everything had been going well, but my legs suddenly remember last weekend.  I guess you would call it pain, but to be more specific it is soreness all up and down my legs, mostly in my quads.  I can still run but it is not fun anymore.

Mile 14 - I have let the 4:00 pacer get way ahead.  It would be a lot of work to keep up and it is just too early in the race.  I think of my recent previous times here....4:28 in 2012, 4:22 in 2013 and 4:21 last year.  So far from the 3:55 I ran one year.  I decide that to run under 4:20 would be just fine and show improvement over recent years.  I finally have a time goal for the race.

Mile 16 - Up the long hill.  Doing OK with a slow pace and some short walk breaks.  No injury, feet feel good, its just these darn tired sore legs.

Mile 17 - Finally the merge with the half.  But this year the half started 30 minutes earlier and now we are merging with the very back of the pack.  It is not crowded, but they are all walking.  Some years I mix in with a huge group of runners that are going my pace and it adds this terrific energy to the event when I need it.  Some years the runners are going slower than I am and I have to negotiate around many.  This year it just seems quiet.  Way fewer spectators in the neighborhood too.  I know that there are many marathoners behind me, but I feel like I am at the tail end of the event and everyone is just waiting for me to go past, so they can close up shop.  I do get a cookie from the little girl at her own table, just like last year.

Mile 20 - It gets better as I get closer to town and as I catch up to halfers who are running.  Lots more runners and spectators.  Try to ignore the legs.

Mile 22 - Near the finish line, fun to see the fast guys sprinting to the end, sad to know I have the long out and back.  But it is a pretty part of the course and 4 miles seems like not so far to go.  Run really well on the gravel trail. Make it all the way to the train tracks before taking a walk break.  That 4:20 time seems very reasonable as long as I do not walk too much. 

Mile 23 - On the boardwalk.  4:15 pacer with a couple of guys pass me.  I try to keep up, but the steep uphill off the boardwalk does me in.  Walk it and then start chugging along once I get to the road.

Mile 25 - Run/walk/shuffle.  Legs are so tired.  I reach the mile 25 marker with 4:04 on the clock.  I have been slowing and I told myself that from here I could walk a bit and then at 4:05 I could jog on and I should have no problem running the last 1.2 miles in 15 minutes to get under 4:20.  I won't have to work too hard and 4:19 sounds great. 

Just as I am done calculating how slow I can go and beat 4:20 everything changes.  I have done this whole race by myself, but now Maniac Crockpot catches me.  She is like "what are you doing walking? Lets go!"  She is having a very good race time for her recent self and she wants me to finish strong with her.  I am happy to see a friendly face and I enjoy running and talking with her. 

25.5 - It was a nice fast half mile and then I slow and tell her to go on, but she will have none of it.  She has tons of long race experience and is a medical doctor too, so when she slows but tells me to get running again I know that there is no arguing with her.  I tell her that I hate her and pick up the pace.  Really it is not that hard once I put mind over legs.  We run strong.  Pass one of the first timers who left me with the 4:00 group back at mile 12.  Mr Pat joins us for the last bit

Finish - 26.39 on the GPS 4:16:36 on the clock.  Now that it is over I like Crockpot again and am glad that she spurred me on.

I say this every year, but again, this is one terrific event.  The volunteer kids are so numerous and enthusiastic.  I definiately plan to be back for number 10

Marathon or ultra#129
Bellingham Bay Marathon#9
215th place of 394

Monday, September 21, 2015

9/19/15 GOAT Trail Marathon

Best kept race secret.  After having an awesome day here last year, for the inaugural event, I just had to come back.  The half did sell out, but surprisingly the marathon did not.  Last year had 35 finishers in the full.  This year we have 46 starting, I do not know what the cap is, but it is a wonderful small race.

I stayed in a rustic cabin at the finish line this year.  Took my time driving out yesterday, I visited the Dungeness National Wildlife refuge, a place that I have wanted to see for many years.  Managed to not yield to the strong temptation to walk all the way out the the lighthouse (10 mile trip) saving my legs for today.

Feeling good, my goal is to beat last years time and get under 5 hours.  Last year I ran conservatively and was recovering from a tough marathon the previous week.  This year I am more rested and know what to expect, but I do want to save something for Bellingham next weekend.

Cloudy, then a rain shower as I park at the shuttle lot, a few miles from the finish.  I decide to keep my light jacket with me, tied around my waist, just in case it rains again. Last year it was warm and sunny and got real warm at the end.  It will be much cooler and great for running today, as long as it does not get too wet.

Sit next to Monte on the shuttle ride.  Then about 15 minutes to wait at the start. 

Start - Up the two rutted road for a bit, then steeply down.  I start fairly near the front and can run my pace from the get go.  With two lanes for a half mile I get sorted into a good pace.  On to the single track now, where it will be harder to pass.  I remember last year starting much farther back and having to work around quite a few people, to get to my comfortable pace. 

Mile 2 - Been following a group of 4 and we are going just a little faster than I would like.  While not hot, it does seem extra humid.  I am sweating and wonder if I should not slow down a little.  There are two guys behind me, not super close, but I decide to step aside and let them go past, walk just a bit and then set out at my own pace rather than try to keep up with this group.  Second guy is Jason Ryan, nice to see him get ahead of me, where he belongs.

Mile 3.5 - I know that there are a bunch of people behind me, but no one is close.  Hard to tell in these woods though.  Out into a view of the cloudy Elwha valley.  Aid station.  I am doing so much better this year with my hand held bottle compared to that belt thing that I will never go back to.

Mile 6 - Feeling less humid, in a good running groove.  Weird to run this trail that I was at only once before, a year ago.  It is all surprisingly familiar and it comes on faster than I remember.  Dark forest, dip down across a little water, then up the other side, switchbacking up the hill, now the abandoned logging road and a steep but short uphill.  Walk most of it but it seems easier than I remember.  Slowly gaining on one woman.  Top of the hill, look back and no one behind me.  Flat then another similar hill.  Aid station where I pass the woman.  Just after the aid station a guy passes me and he is flying, really caught up quickly.

Mile 8-10 - Packed dirt, smooth, wide, gentle downhill trail.  Amazing section that goes on for so long.  Then some uphill and a few rocks but still runnable.  Drizzle turns to light rain.  I have learned that if I want to have a drink or food or as in this case slow to  put my jacket on, I can wait until a tricky or uphill part of the trail where I want to go slowly anyway.  Jacket goes on, but just for a couple of miles.  Rain stops eventually and the trail only gets very little puddles and just a few muddy spots.

Mile 13.1 - or so.  Really not sure about these mile markers and my GPS.  Aid station volunteers say that we are halfway.  About 2 hours 20 minutes, so on a good pace for sub 5 hours, especially with most of the uphills done.  At the aid station Mike Mahany and another runner catch up to me.  We continue on more or less together.

Mile 15 - Out into the clear cut on the side of the mountain.  Last year it was a had to stop and look at the view of the Straight of Juan de Fuca and Canada.  This year I can see the water, but most of the view is clouded in.  So we keep running.

Mile 17 - Ouch!  Bee sting above my right ankle.  Only one and it is not too bad, but I will feel it with each step all the way to the end. 

Mile 18 - Down some serious switchbacks to a bridge, where I decide to slow and make Mike and the other runner go past me.  Check for swelling and the sting is growing a little bit.  Free to run whatever pace I want, I watch Mike get ahead, but see him every once in a while.

Mile 21 - Onto the real rocky "road" part.  Looks for good spots to run this downhill, then glad to hit the real dirt road.  Now the long slog to the finish.  Mike stays about 1-2 tenths of a mile ahead of me.  It would be nice to catch him and run with him to the end.  I give it a little effort but just don't have the great desire.  Instead I try to not take walk breaks.  Just keep plodding along.  I will easily beat 5 hours and so I should keep moving, but save something for next week too. 

Mile 23 - I am tired but nothing hurts (except the be sting).  Feet feel fine and my legs are not stiff at all.  I think that I have managed to drink a lot more water than usual, without an upset stomach, and that has helped me not fall apart.  My legs feel way better than they did at mile 12 of last weeks half, of course I have not been going nearly as fast.  Still think I might catch Mike, but now we are on the pavement and up the two little hills.  Turn the corner, down the hill and to the finish line.

Finish - Finish line recovery is easy, since I did not go all out at the end.  Somehow I finished 17 minutes faster than last year and still had a fun time doing it. 

22nd place of 46
Race#363, Marathon or Ultra#128, GOAT Trail Marathon#2