Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1/29/17 Seattle Locks Marathon

7th year of the event, but my first time here.  Also my first event with Steve Walters as race director.  It is free and low key, but very well done.  I give a small donation to help with costs and any extra is promised to charity.

Fun to run on new territory.  From Woodland Park down to the Burke Gillman trail, along the water to Puget Sound and a double out and back. I have not run sub 4:30 in a while so that is my goal.

But the course and the fellow runners will conspire against me.  The course has multiple street crossings with some very long waits for walk signs.  The trail is not complete, in many places we end up back on sidewalks and there are many more turns than I was expecting.  Steve has put orange arrows to mark the course, but there are many times where I hesitate or go just a little off track.  The fellow runners that I will be with are just too friendly and relaxed.  No one seems to be out for a fast finish and I will enjoy their company so much, that I stop caring about the watch.

Weather is cool but dry.  Jacket and a hat on and off.  The wind will blow and it will seem colder later in the race, but no rain!

Nice start/finish area at the park, but a quarter mile walk to the restrooms.  At least I get there plenty early and it is stress free getting parked and getting my number.  I watch a large group of early starters head out in the 7AM dark.  Now I have an hour to get myself ready.




Start - I get to run the first two miles with Allen George, my medical missionary friend from Peru (and Nebraska)  Easy to run under 10/mile as it is downhill and for the first street crossings the wait is not long.  Sidewalk, cracks and bumps to watch for.  I really want to keep it slower and Allen is faster than me these days, so after a while he heads on.




Mile 3 - Catch up with Tim Stensen and we run together for a while.  Now on the trail and along the water, but not quite what I had pictured.  The course has some cool things to see (the locks, a statue, birds in the ship canal, the Fremont Troll, shrubs shaped like dinosaurs) and some ugly stuff (trash filled homeless camp, broken up road with old rail road tracks to trip over, trash can to toss my empty gu pack?, nope that container is for used hypodermic syringes only, razor wire fences)















Mile 6 - I have gone ahead of Tim and now finally here are Mica and Tracy catching up to me.  We run to the turn around and then all the way back to the start/finish.  Nice conversation really makes the miles flow by.  They are both faster than me, but are in no hurry today.  Half marathon started an hour after us and now those runners are on the course.  Surprise Terra Perkins sighting, followed by a Martinho sighting.  Mica has an achilles issue and wants to walk the uphills.  The long uphill on Stone way is not so steep and we jog that one, but walk up the final short steep hill to the finish. 2:20 on the watch means that my 4:30 finish is in serous jeopardy.

Mile 13.1 - I don't want to linger at the turn around and Tracy and Mica seem to be taking their time, so I go on without them.  Down the hill and then the longest ever wait at the stop light.  Two crossings here that take FOREVER.  At least I get to see Marie and Deb and Margaret and Cat.  2:30 on the watch and all time goals out the window. I feel fine, but I just can't manage my pace on this course.  And I am not going to say no to a picture stop if someone wants that.

Mile 14 - Catch up with Terri.  We ran a few miles together at Pigtails last month.  She is still on her quest to get to marathon 100 by April and it is wearing her down.  We fall into a nice steady easy pace with some walk breaks and the time flies by.  I will end up staying with her for about 11 miles.





Mile 20 - The turn around point seems farther away.  By GPS the course will be long.  We are happy to finally reach it and start heading back......but into the cold wind.  Now there are more people out and on the sidewalks we have to dodge dogs and tricycles and people waiting to get into restaurants.  More cars on the road too.

Mile 23 - In a dodgy part and Terri finds a cell phone.  And it is on and not locked.  I am sure that a runner must have dropped it and we should just carry it to the finish line. We think about it and debate what to do and I don't really want to take the time to stop and call whoever left 9 recent calls to the phone.  It is also mile 23 and maybe I am not thinking so clearly.  Teri does carry it back and Steve will put it with the other one that someone else found.  I don't know if it made it back to its owner.  In the mean time I just want to finish.

Mile 24.5 - I make Terri go a few steps off course, so she can see the Troll, then she releases me to run up the long hill as she is going to walk.  It is going to be close to beat 5 hours.  A little tired but really feeling good for this many miles, I run halfway up the hill, still feel OK, and make a commitment to run the whole thing.  Not so difficult.  At the top I have to wait so long for the light.  Then it is around the ball field and up the steep hill.  4:57 on the watch and I started my watch a little late because of a GPS mishap.  I could be really close to 5 hours and I work hard to not let that happen.

Mile 26.2 - 26.7 on the GPS. Just under 5 hours


Although I was no where near my time goal, I am pleased with how things went physically.  Always so great to feel good late in a marathon.  No regrets about relaxing and staying with people today instead of chasing a time goal.  I would absolutely come back and run this one gain, but also not for time, but for fun and a good long run.

4:59:09
24th of 54
Race#409
Marathon or ultra#149
*****

Saturday, January 21, 2017

1/21/17 Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass 25K

So glad when word went out last week that the start/finish and course had been changed to a lower elevation due to the snow conditions up high.  I will miss going up to the peak, but I will not miss the scary drive in the dark to the Falls Creek campground.

Instead we meet at Margaret McKinney, just off a paved road and easy to get to.  And no rain this year.  Shorts!  And trail shoes!  It has been to long since I have hit the trails.  And $10 entry.  Only one aid station, with water only, but that is plenty for my large hand held bottle.

Start - on time this year.  I was just chatting with Monte and then it is run time.  I am farther back than I would like, but people are moving along.  Very large number of runners again, but well organized.  From the help with parking to the course markings everything is well done.

Actually nice to get off the trail and onto a logging road for about a half mile.  This lets everyone get to their own pace and spread out a little.  Most of this course I have run before not on this road.  Uphill then an equal downhill that I know is going to be tough on the way back.  About a mile on trail and then the stick part of the lollipop course is done.

I don't run with anyone, but it seems like someone is always fairly close.  I continue to pass some, and also to get passed.  Long gentle downhill on cushy trail that is not too muddy and makes for some fast running. 























Past Mima Falls there is one valley that has two little bridges.  In my quest to run every trail in Capitol Forest I once ran this area from Mima Falls, and then another day started higher up and came back to the valley, but I did not know there were two identical bridges until I saw the gap in my GPS map.  Exciting part of today is that I get to cover that 300 feet or so that I had been missing and otherwise would have taken me hours to complete.






Up and into some clear cuts.  I expected the elevation to level off around 800ft, but that was a guess.  With my watch I am looking at elevation and ignoring pace, just glancing at the mileage now and then.  Feel good, but it is a long uphill with lots of walking. 




It finally levels out at 1,000 feet.  And a little snow in places.




Now I know I have a 700 foot decline in the next couple of miles.  Really nice running.  It warms a little as I head down and the sun even peeks out now and then.  Happy to reach the lollipop stick.  But that means there will be 50K runners coming towards me on their second loop.  I step out of the way each time one approaches and try to save a little energy for the road and uphill.

Reach the logging road and the uphill is not that bad.  Steve Walters, Pigtails and Jean sightings.  Now down and then a half mile on the trail back to the finish.  Tired but no wall.  A few foot issues and a minor hip thing, but nothing bad.




Finish - 15.1 miles on the GPS

So the course is shorter than last year and the weather and trail conditions were much better.  This gives me a 35 minute faster time than last year.  Can't really compare, but it was a great day and I feel like the running went very well.


3:12:00
66th place of 113
Race#408
*****



Saturday, January 14, 2017

1/14/17 Run for Faith and Food 10K

Third year in a row doing the 10K, plus I ran the 5K twice a few years before that.  So this great little race has been around for quite a few years now, but just is not getting the number of runners that it deserves.  I guess that the drive to Elma is a ways for some, but it is easier than going to Seattle.  Plus being in the Winter.  But with a warm church to wait in before and after, and the huge number of raffle items (two per runner this year) and the great vibe with support for walkers this really is a good event.  $30 preregister and it came with a high quality beanie.  I signed Jody up for the 5K and dragged her along this year.  She has done this before but maybe forgot how nice it is, later she would thank me for encouraging her to come.  She likes the 10:00AM start time too.

Super cold.  My third race in a row all bundled up.  About 26 degrees at the start.  Jody is now assessing the competition and asks Barb if she can switch to the 10K.  She is going to decide once she gets out there and sees if it is slippery at all.

Start - Both races start together and it is so small I have no trouble heading right out at the pace I want.  Loren and another guy get ahead right away.  I focus on pace.  Off the main road and on the back street I see that Loren is not gaining any more.  The front runner is getting far ahead.  Through the school property and another back road and I am slowing gaining on Loren.  So cold but not icy slippery.

Mile 1 - 7:54.  Feeling OK and still gaining on Loren.  Over Highway 12 to the 5K turn around.  Look back and I can see Mike Henderson a ways back.  He is doing the 5K and I realize that if I switched to that race, I could probably be overall winner.  It is so rare that I win a race, it is really tempting to switch now.  But unlike Jody, I never asked Barb if that would be OK, plus that just does not seem quite fair.  The past two years I have been third overall in the 10K (out of 9) and as I continue on, I do pass Loren putting me in second place with no chance of an overall win.

Mile 2 - Long straight flat part by the ponds.  Running scared that Loren will catch me.  Later I will find out that he was really not feeling well and only came to make us work hard to beat his title of winning the past two years.

Every year the course out here changes a little bit.  Volunteer directs out to the airport road, short out and back, then back to the little trail along the pond.  Last year we went out and back here, but this year we will continue around the backside of the pond.

Mile 3.5 - Crunchy frozen grass trail and some gravel.  Great excuse to slow a little and be careful.  Plus it is so cold.  These are good excuses for the fact that I probably will not beat last year's time.  Plus no one I can see in front or behind me.  Did I mention that the ponds are frozen over?  On the way out I saw some large rocks that had been tossed out there.  Now I can hear that someone is skimming stones and they are making an eerie reverberation as they bounce on the ice.

Out toward the playground and not sure if I should go left or right.  I veer to the right and it costs me a few seconds as I remember that we are supposed to go over the little bridge and around the second pond on the left.  I head over that way and see a comforting chalk arrow on the ground.  Now a paved trail and easier running.

Mile 4.5 - Back to the aid station and over the highway bridge.  Uneventful return trip.  Going to be close to last year's time but I really do not think I can do it.  Keep working hard to at least keep it under 50 minutes.  Pass some 5K walkers.  No ache or pain issues, everything is working well, but I will be happy to be done. 

Mile 6.2 - 6.04 on the GPS.  I cross the finish.  Joke about will they stop the clock when my feet stopped running, or when my nose stops running.  Congratulate Mike who did win the 5K.  Find out that Jody is doing the 10K.  I jog back and here she comes, cruising in to a first place woman award (out of three).

Now the raffles where we get pie, chocolate, a reflective vest and two-person tent.  Plus a ribbon for me and trophy for Jody.  Thanks for a great job as usual on this event, Barb.  Plan to run it again next year.





49:13
2nd place out of 8
Race#407
Run for Faith #5
*****

Monday, January 2, 2017

1/1/17 FSRC Resolution Run 5K

15th time running a race on New Year's Day.

A little bit of snow last night and the roads are slushy with ice in spots.  At 8AM the sidewalks and roads are fairly dangerous for running, but by 9AM it is almost all slush.  Still I will have to be careful and I am not going for any speed records today.  It is cold enough for me to have long pants, jacket, hat and gloves.  The gloves will come off mid race.


 



Start - On the track as usual here.  Crowded around the first turn and I try to be patient.  Moving up when there is an opening.  Now the little uphill from the track and that is the slipperiest part.





Mile 1 - 7:54 - A runner next to me sees me look at my watch as we pass the mile marker.  He asks "are we under 10 minutes?"  I tell him it was 7:54 and that is the fastest mile I have run all year.

Turn to the road just before the 5 mile and 5K races split.  I have done this so many times I know that as soon as we all make the left turn, there will be a cone and a turn around spot, since I am doing the shorter race today.  A volunteer had said something about 5K runners stay right, and as I approach the turn on the left side of the road I now see what he meant.  We are not taking that left turn, just staying straight and the cone is on this road, over on the right.  Not a big deal, but it might have cost me a few seconds.  Martinho is behind me and he will tell me that he turned left, then had to turn around and cross the road and it messed him up so that he never could catch me.  On the way back I see Martinho, Mike and Judy....fun to have these people to race with for so many years.

Mile 2 - 7:54!!  Even split.  So surprised and happy, though not as fast as I would like.  Still I will take it.  Try to keep it up.  No one close that I can chase, and no one right behind me either. Careful with the turns and ease up for the hill to the track.

Mile 3 - 8:03  Now run as fast as I can to get under 25 minutes.





Finish - 3.14 miles on the GPS.  My chip time is 24:54 so I think they were only chipping at the finish.  I had a 6 second lag to get to the start line, where I started my watch, so I will record 24:48 as my unofficial time.  Just a few seconds slower than my last 5K and for New Year's Day with cold and slush, I will take it.

In the old days we would now sit around for ages as the results were tabulated by hand from the poster boards.  But with Terry and family doing the timing, I can walk upstairs and have them see my number and right away give my a little sticker print out of my results and my third place in my age group ribbon.  This is great, because for a little New Year's craziness I have decided to head right back to Olympia and join the Club Oly group run (5.5miles) that starts at 11AM.  I make it there in plenty of time and have a nice run, getting 2017 off to a good start.


24:48
25th of 102
Race#406, 5K#108
*****

Saturday, December 17, 2016

12/17/16 Pigtails Marathon

New RD is Monte.  Almost everything else is the same as previous years.  Fewer runners though.  My 8th time here, so not much to say about the course.

Bitter cold.  20 degrees at the start.  A little light snow right when I finish.  So all bundled up and I will stay that way for the whole race.  At least it is dry.

Start - Nice to see friends and fellow crazy runners.  Early start option this year so some are already out on the course.  We start on time and head off on that nasty short out and back.  It is a rocky trail, made worse by the frozen solid ground and chunks of ice.  I start out easy enough and am happy to see the first mile done in ten minutes and now it will be a much better trail.

Mile 5.9 - Back and forth and with Ted.  More dismotivational signs than previous years.  So cold, there will not be many other trail users.  I have my pace down to a 9:30/mile average and am feeling good.  Take short walk breaks and try to not push the pace.

Mile 11.5 - Hammond aid station with roasted potatoes.  The warm potato is so nice!!  Now the push to the turn around and I will be happy to be heading back.  Counting the miles more than usual.




Mile 15 - On the way back now.  Just a slight breeze and colder in this direction.  Marie and Deb sighting.  Deb asks if I am cold and then offers me a "fireball".  First time drinking whiskey while running a marathon (maybe first whiskey ever).  Yowza!  Glad I did not take a larger sip.  I will save the rest of the little bottle for later.

Mile 16 - Catch up to Teri.  We run together to the next aid station.  Nice to finally run with her.  But she is slowing and I still feel pretty good, so I press on.

Mile 18.5 - Maybe I took too many potatoes, my stomach is starting to rebel a little.  Frozen gels and rock solid shot blocks have not helped either.  Start slowing some but still thinking I can beat last year's 4:19.

Mile 19.94 - A bridge is up ahead, maybe right at 20.0, and I plane to walk the bridges as usual, but I am suddenly struck by serious fatigue.  I start walking here and pick it up again after the bridge, but in a much lower gear.  It is all of a sudden so hard now, from here to the end.

Mile 22 - Lately when I tire late in a race, I can plug along OK, but this is serious wall stuff today.  Been a long time since I have struggled like this.  Not having a very fun time, I should rate today's experience a 3 out of 5, but there is still that sense of accomplishment that I am starting to have, knowing that I will finish another marathon.  It really is a great feeling to be able to get outside and do this, whatever the finish time.





Mile 25 - Gave up on 4:19 a while back, then I gave up on 4:30!  It is what it is.  I am running 14 minute miles.  Pigtails herself passes me.....and she is running the 50K!  I can shuffle and move my arms.  Head down a lot and I don't care.  Soon to be over.

Mile 26.2 - Try to speed up for the finish, but it is pathetic.  Picture with Monte.  Teri comes in a minute after me, I should have just stayed with her.  Soup and quesadillas.  Thanks to the awesome volunteers who braved the real cold of staying in one place.




4:38:44
15th of 48 with 16 did not start
Race#405, Marathon or ultra#148, Pigtails race#8
****

Saturday, December 3, 2016

12/4/16 Saint Martins Jingle Bell Run 5K

4th time here and 4th year in a row.  Always a week after a marathon.  I registered back in July so with early pricing it was $25 with shirt and chip timed.  It bugs me a little that they have continued to make the 5K race for competitive runners only.  If you can't go sub 30 minutes, then you can do the untimed fun run.  I know I can be under 30, but I like having all the walkers show up in the results, making my finish spot look better.

Recovery week was OK.  Got in a good hill workout on Thursday as I am focusing on training for the Mountain Marathon in March.  Yesterday I should have rested, but I had the opportunity to get out for 4 easy miles and I am afraid that I will need early in the month miles to reach my goal for December.  So today I feel a little weary.  Last year I ran a slowish 23:54 and I think that I should be able to beat that today.  Warm up for 2 miles and I feel ready to go.

Cold but dry.  I will wear a beanie hat and after warm up I put on a pair of gloves.  Not sure I need them but I will end up wearing them the whole way.  Two long sleeve T-shirts.  Fun atmosphere, with lots of costumes and people of all ages. One of my CCM Pacers is here, Rob.  I tell him that he has to beat me to keep his 3:30 pace job.  That will be no problem as he will crush it coming in 8th overall at a 6:10 pace!  Barb is here and worried that she won't make the 30 minute cut off, just getting back after injury.


 



Start - I start about a third of the way back.  Takes a few seconds to get over the mat.  But it is less crowded than past years and we can run our own paces right away.  Just a little tight, but not bad.  I head out at a too fast pace, but taking advantage of the pavement before the uneven grass trail.

Mile 1 - 7:30 - but now the uphill and then uneven dirt part, with a little mud.  Lost of people to run near or with, or to go back and forth with.

Mile 1.55 - Through the finish chute and start the second lap.  But I am at 12 minutes and I really doubt I can run the second half faster than the first.  This will be my slowest time here yet.  Nothing hurts and I am pushing myself hard, but the speed is not quite there.  Get going faster, but then there is the trail.

Mile 2.5 - Up the hill again and I am getting passed a lot. And I thought I was strengthening my hill game.  Now I am sure I will not beat last years time.  I keep going hard and get a little faster once I am back on the pavement.  Work really hard to pass one guy on the last stretch.  Then it is over.

Mile 3.1 - 3.11 on the GPS.  Walk back to watch the finishers.  It gets thin after 27 minutes, and when they do come in, I cheer them on.  One small girl will be so close, I scream at her to speed up and she finishes at 30:00 on the clock.  Oh, here comes Barb at 31 something and they are still recording times.  I am glad that they were not so strict on that.

Half mile cool down jog.  Check results on the laptops.  Get snacks.  Rachael Petersen sighting.  Back home by mid morning.  Glad I ran, will probably do it again and trying to not be so disappointed with a slightly slower race than expected.

24:31
58th of 133
Race#404, 5K#107, SMJB#4
****

Friday, November 25, 2016

11/25/16 Grandpa's Wishbone Run

Ran this once before, two years ago.  Great option if I am not doing the big Seattle race on Sunday.  Easy parking just off the highway and $20 entry fee day of race.  Part of the Seattle Quadzilla, so lots of Maniacs here.  Monte running number 501.

Green River paved trail, the same trail I raced on three weeks ago.  This time a double out and back from Tukwilla to the Three Friends Fishing Hole, where the race earlier this month started.

After a wet and stormy day yesterday, it looks like very good running weather today.  Cool but dry, the sun will even peek out a little.

Day after Thanksgiving so I have some dietary indiscretions to deal with.  I ran a good tempo run on Sunday then a huge hill climb (4 miles up Mount Walker, then flew 4 miles down) on Monday.  Here it is Friday and not sure how it will go. No real time goal, though it would be great to beat my time from 2015.

Start - Many runners in the half and we all go out along the sidewalk for a crowded but relaxed start.  Hat, gloves and jacket, though I will take off the gloves soon.

Mile 1 - 9:40 which is faster than it felt.  I would be happy with 10/mile but I don't slow down as I am warming up and everything feels good.  Except the side of my left foot which is giving a fairly sharp and surprising pain now.  Very much unexpected, I shift my stride a little and it goes away, comes back, then goes away for good.  That was weird and a little scary, if it had continued I would have dropped out, and I really did not see that coming.

Mile 2 - On the trail near the river, but now there are orange arrows and xs on the course and pointing in various directions.  Some arrows are pointing to the street and sort of back the way we came and some runners want to go that way.  I am sure that we are supposed to continue on the trail here, but what about the way back?  Our route was very clear getting here, I assume we go back the same way.

It would not be a race along the Green River without some route confusion.  The County is always doing trail maintenance and levee work and there are often detours.  My race here three weeks ago (In Unity We Run) had the least confusion, with one spot that looked closed but with good communication from the RD we were sure this was the right way.  Today there is also a 50K with the half and full (the full being advertised as 27 miles) and I do not know if the 50K people might have a different route.

Mile 4.5 - 9:23 average pace and feeling great.  Larry Macon sighting (world record holder for most marathons) Aid station (the only one on the course but we will hit it 4 times).  Now the bridge across the river and then that long curved part, where Deb and I were longing for the finish line three weeks ago.  Today I know just what we have to do, and after the curve and the next one (with fast runners coming back) it is under the overpass and reach the turn around.

Mile 6.76 - Turn around.  This would make a 27 mile course.  Pedro sighting.  He is behind me!  But he ran a marathon yesterday and has one tomorrow and the next day.  He is probably still warming up and also running conservatively.  I should be faster than most of the quad people so maybe my results will look good, despite whatever time I run.

Mile 11 - Back at the questionable spot.  We shout to a runner heading off that way and David Pearson and I convince her to follow us the way we came.  Also see runners coming back from that way and others who were just ahead of us, now coming towards us. 

Mile 11.5 - Now at another bridge and there is Pedro and three others with him, coming in from the side and crossing ahead of us.  The other route must be quite a bit shorter than what we did.  And not fair!

Mile 13.5 - Reach the start/finish/turn around in about 2:13.  Head right back out.  Now I just wonder how much stamina I have.  Running with David.

Mile 15.5 - He convinces me that we are supposed to take the street route after the crossing, but we lose the arrows and work our way back to the trail in a short bit through a parking lot.  Run the next 8 miles with David.  He is almost deaf and it is a challenge to communicate.  He reads lips great, and that is just a little hard when we are running side by side.  I have known him for a few years and watched him get faster than me, and run more races.  He is on race two of four in four days.  We talk a lot more than I expected and it gets easier.  I have been expecting to hit the wall, and though we take some walk breaks they are short.  I sort of want to be left to my own misery, but David is staying with me, saying he might go off faster at mile 23 or so.  He pushes me along and although tired, I am not really struggling or in any pain.  We both enjoy a Sabrina sighting.

Mile 23 - David gives me a fist bump and heads off faster.  Just before the aid station I see a young runner sitting on the side of the trail with her shoes off.  I ask her if she is OK and it is just blisters that she is tending to.  And yes, she is racing tomorrow.

Mile 25 - The orange arrow junction.  Look back and there is a guy almost there.  I ask which way to go and he suggests that we turn right.  We both think it will be shorter and we both have adequate mileage on our watches.  We take this route and I am surprised with how much mileage it cuts off.  Orange arrows clearly take us to the bridge.  My new running buddy is picking up speed and I am flagging.  Push on hoping to beat my 4:34 from 2015, but pretty sure I won't make it.  Now the long sidewalk to the finish so far away.  Run the whole way, feel good, but happy to be done.

Finish - 26.73 miles on the GPS.  No time to chat or have pancakes.  Head directly to the car for the hour drive and oh I am so stiff when I get home.  But a nice day of running and I am happy with my endurance and only being a minute slower than two years ago.



Results pending
4:35:50
Race #403, Marathon or Ultra #147
****