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. 

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.

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!

185th of 314 finishers
Race#390, Marathon or Ultra # 141, Capital City Marathon #13

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

5/1/16 Tacoma City Marathon

While I don't like the 4AM wake up to get to the shuttle for the 7AM start, it is supposed to get warm today, so starting at 7 is probably a good thing.  It is Tacoma and it will be warm, so I break out the old Maniac singlet.  But I bring long pants and fleece to wait at the start in comfort.

Cheer the early starters and mingle with friends.  Bright sun is rising here at the Narrows Airport.

Last year I ran 3:59:59 and I am reasonably sure that I can not do that again.  Two weeks ago I ran 4:27 at the very hilly Whidbey Island and I am confident that I can beat that time.  I am thinking of staying with the 4:15 pacer and pulling ahead late if I feel good.

Start - Crowded and I find myself closer to 4:30 pacer, but I am not concerned.  This far back we start out, then have a crowd hesitation right at the chip mat, but then we are over it and running smoothly.  Around the corner and the short out and back.  Jesse Stevick with a big lead already!  But when I check results he is not there, so I don't know what he was doing.

Mile 3 - So much for 4:15, I am now just behind Ian and Nick pacing 4:00.  Big group with them and I try to stay back so I can see the road.  Over the Narrows.  Boxed in again I ease off.  Coming up the other side I have plenty of room and crowding will not be an issue any more.  Gorgeous views of Puget Sound.  The uphill is long as always.

Mile 6 - Run with a new friend, Marycarol.  She has a support/spectator crew out here.  The next four miles are very nice as we chat, staying 50-100 feet behind the pacers.

Mile 10 - I accelerate up to Ian and let him know that I am back there, that I made it this far, though I know I won't last the whole way.  Then slow down and rejoin Marycarol.  But then we do a brief merge with the half marathon (Terry Fritz sighting) and it gets crowded and I push on to stay with 4:00 and am on my own.

Mile 13 - Chip mat here, not at 13.1 and it reads just under 1:58.  Catch Judy Fisher.  Into Point Defiance Park for 5 more miles of hills.  And shade.  I have been pouring a little water on my head already to stay cool.

Mile 18 - Just coming out of the park, a little detour on to some dirt and gravel and an uphill and I suddenly tire.  Can not quite hang on with 4:00 pace.

Mile 20 - Down to Ruston Way and the heat.  Feeling OK.  A little pain in my left leg that I can ignore.  Warm.  Slow but chugging along.  10 minute miles with short walk breaks from here to the end.  I am actually passing quite a few marathoners (and halfers as we have merged with them again)  A few strong runners pass me but according to the split time sorting I net gain and pass about 30 marathoners in the second half.  A few places I can feel the heat radiating off the road.  Shade feels so nice when it is there.  Keep up good spirits and try to encourage others around me.  My worst time here was a 4:12 so I have to try to beat that.  Every mile closer to the finish it looks like I will have no problem doing that.

Mile 25 - So glad to get off that road.  Now a few turns and one long stretch to the finish.  Still able to run long sections, I keep plugging away and get it done.

Mile 26.2 - Done!  Feel a little nausea and walk around some to recover while sipping on water.  After a while I get my drop bag and hike up to Pacific Ave, about .3 miles from the finish.  Sit on the curb and cheer for runners.  Fun to watch friends finish up.  Marie pacing 5 hours right on schedule.  Then the Rogue Wave (25 weeks preggo! with her Dad)

Good enjoyable day and a nice feeling of accomplishment.

142nd of 462
Race#389, Marathon or longer#140

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4/16/16 Whidbey Island Marathon

Every May I run the same two races (Tacoma and Capital City).  Every April I find something new to run.  This year I finally get to run the Whidbey Island Marathon.  Been wanting to run this one for years and doing so will get me another Washington State County that I have run a marathon in. Jody is off on a trip with her Mom so it is a solo overnight for me.  I get there early enough on Friday to explore some beaches, but alas see no orcas.  The island is so pretty, I hope to come back with Jody some time for a longer stay.

Start time is 6:30 AM but we have to catch a shuttle from the finish of this point to point course.  Hotel is a short drive away, so I am up at 4:30 to catch a bus by 5AM.  I get to ride next to Pedro.  Great to catch up with him, especially since he resists all social media.  It feels very cold out here at Deception Pass. I have a hat and fleece that I will put in my drop bag, but even with those I am shivering.  The time goes by quickly enough and then it is time to run.

Maniac Pace Team is here.  With the course supposed to be very hilly and I am not at top form, I see no need to try to set a great time.  A second half faster than the first would be wonderful.  I think that 4:15 is just a little too aggressive and the 4:30 pacer is Super Sabrina who is a ton of fun energy, so the choice is easy to plan to stay with her for a long while, then go faster later in the race if I feel good.

Start - The road is closed for the first couple of miles so we can run right down the middle.  Starting at the park and then onto Route 20.  Over the Deception Pass bridge.  Yesterday I stopped here to get a couple of photos.  There was lots of traffic zooming past the narrow sidewalk and with the sweeping view I started to get vertigo.  Today I stay to the center and enjoy the scenery.  Mostly a few steps behind Sabrina and with a little pack.

Mile 2 - On to a side road that is quiet but like the rest of the way will be open to traffic.  So we get to see and stay inside of every traffic cone in the county.  It makes us run no more than two together.  Aid stations every two miles or so and nice temperatures with sunshine.  Easy comfortable pace.

Mile 8 - The little pack is much smaller and I have had the chance to chat with Sabrina.  I don't know her so well, but have been amazed at her running career.  Talking with her, the miles eased by.  I even get to hold the pace sign for a few minutes as she makes a quick stop.  I take my duties seriously and make sure the pace stays even.  Other than that I don't have to think about pace.  It is so relaxing to trust a pacer and let them do the work of timing.  Sabrina is also a certified coach and I get some good advice, most of which I already know but just don't do enough of.  Maniac Coconut Boy sighting, running his 499th marathon! 

Mile 10 - Have I mentioned the hills?  Ever up and down.  Nothing too steep but its relentless.  Here at mile 10 is the steepest one yet.  A few years ago I would have explored this course more closely, memorizing the map and driving the whole thing ahead of time.  I am glad that I did not do that this time, I would have been discouraged before the start. Better to just let it unfold today.  And it is not like a trail race where I might take a wrong turn.  Just follow the cones.

Mile 15 - Up, down, up down.  I ran the Bremerton Marathon last year and remember that being the hilliest road race I had done.  Today is even hillier.  My watch data will show Bremerton as having over 1,700 feet of elevation gain and Whidbey will be closer to 2,100 feet.  But I feel fine.  Taking lots of gels and shot blocks as my stomach feels great.  Just three of us now staying together. Smart to stay with Sabrina (and fun).

Mile 18 - More uphill.  Nice views of the water, but I think there are better places to race on this island.  Lots of twists and turns with no long straight views of what is ahead.  Hard to know if this is the last big hill or not.  I had looked at the course profile and it showed just about all downhill after mile 21.  But some people are saying that the course is different this year.  The great thing is that I feel strong and light and have no trouble getting up any hill.  Walk when Sabrina does.

Mile 20 - After a nice downhill it is up again.  Right hip flexor is starting to bug me, but not so bad.  I had planned on staying with the pacer until mile 21, then going faster.  But I feel good enough to not go slow on this uphill and without a grand goodbye, I just ease ahead.  After a quarter mile I realize that I am ahead of her for good (hopefully) so now it is time to go faster, work hard and see how much I can beat 4:30 by.

Mile 21 - And right here we get a fantastic downhill with a long view of more than a mile ahead.  Meet up with a guy named Micah and we pick up the pace.  Passing the half marathon walkers now.  There will be more and more of them, but we will not have trouble getting past them.

Mile 23 - Had been averaging 10:15/mile for the first 20 miles.  Now I am running about 9/mile.  Not blazing fast, but moving along fine.  I realize that I have 5K to go and I remember the four 5K races that I ran last Saturday.  That seems so short.  I am tired but not as stiff as I was at the start of the last race last week.  Now a discouraging little uphill that slows me down.  But after that it is gentle downhill and then a steep down to the finish.

Finish - 26.35 on the GPS.  Happy with my time and the about 2:14/2:12 split.  No wall or real struggle.  I guess that I could have gone out a little faster, but if I had really tried for a fast time I could have had a very bad race, with that course as hilly as it is.

Whidbey is done.  Off the bucket list.  Nice enough event but I don't feel like I need to come back again any time soon.

76th of 138
Race#388, marathon or ultra#139

Sunday, April 10, 2016

4/9/16 Orting Daffodil Parade 5K

Get to Orting and find decent parking.  Lots of people around with the traffic negotiating the detours.  Now a long wait.  Almost two hours till race time.  It is hot and I smell.  I want to nap in the car but it is too warm.  I walk around town a little.  I am worried that I am dehydrated and I drink and eat but hopefully not so much to get sick while running.  4th 5K race in 4th town today.

This course will be a simple out and back on the paved Foothills Trail.  After a long wait, race time is getting close.  I shuffle a little and feel as stiff as I have all day.  Fun to see the same people again and we line up accordingly.

Start - It is a beautiful sunny day in Orting and lots of people are using the trail.  We will have to watch for bicyclists, dogs, and families walking together.  But it turns out to not be so bad.  About 70 degrees and it sure feels warm for running.

Mile 1 - 7:57 - There is a volunteer here shouting out the mile pace, which is nice.  No water on any of the courses, and just bottled water at the finish.  But organization including starting on time has been very good.  I feel slow and creaky but really my pace is not so bad.  Jemma and Jared are pulling well ahead though and will beat me in the challenge.  Cattle pasture with baby cattle, then an amazing view of Mount Rainier, followed by a run along the beautiful Carbon River.  By far the most scenic course of the day.

Mile 1.6 - Turn around.  Looks like a slightly long course.  Try to keep working hard.  Wonder if I can beat 25 minutes?

Mile 2 - an 8:07 mile - First time I have been over 8 today.  Try to push on and get it done.  No one with me or right in front to give me impetus to speed up.

Mile 3 - 7:52 mile - Passed a fellow challenger who is struggling and just keep on.  Now I can see the finish clock and it is going to be super close to beat 25 minutes.  That gives me the goal I need to finish strong.  Push really hard.

Finish - 3.15 on the GPS. 24:59 on the clock! There are the Daffodil Princesses from this morning.  One drapes a Challengers finish medal around my neck, one gives me a much needed bottle of water.

I would like to stick around, but foolishly I am meeting Jody in an hour in Auburn and we are driving an hour north from there to have dinner with her parents.  Towel off and change of clothes and nobody seems think that I smell.  Fun long day.

I would do the challenge again for sure.  Happy with my results and really everything went great.  Except for them losing the Puyallup race results.  So for the three races that were timed, I ended up 15th best of 116.  Age group 45-49 I was second place of seven.

For the Orting race:
19th of 149
Race#387, 5K#102

4/9/16 Sumner Run For Rhubarb - Daffodil 5K

Third 5K today.  Drive to Sumner was quick and I find the Middle School with easy parking no problem.  Warming up, the sun is out now.  Drink a lot of Gatorade and eat a bunch of fig newtons.  Have about an hour to wait.  Put on sandals and walk around the school grounds.  Chat with fellow runners.  Try to keep loose, but feeling it now.  Feeble attempts to run a little before race time.

Start - This will be on roads with lots of sunshine.  Off we go and it is not too bad.  With the usual suspects.  Loosen up and pick up the pace.  Lots of police support as we go through a residential area, to Main Street.

Mile 1 - 7:43 - good enough.  Warm for sure, I am not heat acclimated yet this year.  The course looks like a J.  Spectators along the parade route, but not too many are cheering us.  Out and back, then along the route again.  A little stomach trouble, drank too much fluids recently.

Mile 2 - Second mile in 7:51.  Second turn around.  Hard to get moving again after slowing at the U-turn.  Catch a fellow challenger and we tough out the next half mile together.  I feel like my place will be good here and I have not slowed too much.  And coming in to the finish I see that it will be a short course.

Finish - 2.87 on the GPS.  My finish time of 22:14 is great even with the short course.  Off to Orting

16th of 147
Race#386, 5K#101