Monday, March 27, 2017

3/26/17 Cupcake Fun Run Marathon

My first time here.  Tory has put on this race for a few years now and I am happy to finally be here.  Each year she selects a local family with needs and the race is a fundraiser for them.  This year we will support a family of a young girl with cancer.  In this age of $100 plus entry fees that are going to professional race directors it is so satisfying to have my proceeds go to a worthy cause.  Thank you Tory and Jacqui!  I think I paid $35 plus a small added donation.  And there will be all the cupcakes I can eat at the finish line.

The race starts at the Armar trail head to the Centennial Trail in Arlington/Marysville.  North of Seattle I leave home at 5AM to make sure I find the place and make the 8AM start.  Its not far off the highway and easy to find, I get there in 2 hours and have plenty of time to get ready.  It is going to rain at some point, but not at the start.  I will wear a jacket and hat and even gloves for the first couple of miles, but really it is not bad weather.

Goal is to run my own race today and beat 4:30.  Three of my last 4 marathons I have run with slower folks and enjoyed the company more than running for time.  Nothing wrong with that, but I really should see where I am at physically.

Smaller group than I expected.  There was the Dizzy Daze yesterday and Badger Mountain and the Dash Point Half, but still I expected more people.  There is Scott S, so I don't have to worry about possibly winning.  50K too, with only 3, all women.  A little tempting to upgrade to that so I can be first male, but not worth the five extra miles.  Dan counts 15 runners at the start of the marathon and 50K, so only 12 in the marathon.  The half will start thirty minutes later and be a larger race.

Course is 13.1 miles southish  on the wide paved trail and then turn around.  Very few road crossings and there will be no getting lost or confused.

Start to mile 5 - Tory gets us going and we head onto the trail.  Run with Dan for a bit, then slow a little and stay behind him.  Long very gradual uphill.  I had been expecting flat farmland like at Wooley, so I am surprised at the incline.  It goes on for a long way but is not steep.  Should be nice coming back.  Light rain now, but no wind.  Hummingbird sighting.  Then a Great Blue Heron high up in a snag.  Course goes over a few creeks and also across some wetlands.  Lots of skunk cabbage in bloom.  I should have carried a camera, this is a very scenic route.  Even pacing, trying to keep it just under 10 minutes per mile.  Catch up to Dan, the pass him.  Here is the only road crossing where we have to stop.  Push the button and wait for a walk signal.  5 mile aid station is on the other side of the crossing.  Light rain stops.

Mile 5-13.1 - Reconnect with Dan after the aid station and we run together to the turn around.  Very even pace of about 9:52 per mile.  Nice company and the miles fly by.  Aid station at mile 10 and at about mile 10.5 I realize that I am on the part of the trail that is the course for the 6 hour Invest in Youth run.  So I have been here twice before but not for three years now.  Aid station at the Machias Trail Head and I hope this is the turn around, but we are told to keep going to the stop sign and then come back.  It is another half mile.  My GPS reads 12.9 something, but Dan's is right on.  We touch the stop sign and head back.  A little drizzle but it will stop soon.  2:08 on the watch.  We both know that we will not run that fast on the way back.  I suggest a goal of a 2:20 second half.

Mile 13.1 to mile 21 - Average pace is about 9:53 and I would like to hold that for at least 5 more miles.  Dan starts to struggle though and I leave him behind.  Later when I tire, I will admit to looking back and I will see him at times.  But he will not catch me, though I will only beat him by about two minutes.  In the mean time I peel off some nice miles.  Miles 15,16 and 17 are all sub ten minutes each, with one of them being a blazing 9:44.  Pass a woman who I thought was in the race, but she is just out for a 20 mile training run.  We encourage each other and I slowly move ahead.  Slight uphills now.  Pace is steady but a little slower.  If I can make it to the aid station at a 10/mile average I should be in good shape for a sub 4:30.  Pull in to the aid station with a 9:59 pace.

Mile 21-26.2 - I was quick at filling my water bottle, but then I have to wait a little for the traffic light.  Cross the road and now I am at a 10:02 overall pace.  Not what I wanted but still feeling like I can run and I know that there are gentle downhills soon.  I am able to run slowly for long stretches and I walk just to drink or take a Cliff block.  Right hip is nagging a little.  Twice I have to walk suddenly because something goes wrong in my left hip.  It works itself out with just a few steps.  I calculate that I can do 12/mile and beat 4:30 and that should be no problem.  Run slowly for long segments of 0.7 and 0.5 miles without even looking at my watch.  Forward progress is good and I do not push myself too hard either.  A little fear that Dan or someone else will catch me, but other than that, not much motivation.  Keep plugging away and soon the finish line is in sight.

Mile 26.2 - Very happy with my pacing and endurance, considering I only had one long run of 12.6 miles (the 20K last week) in the past 4 weeks.  Right hip will be a little sore but everything else feels great considering, so I am looking forward to another marathon in two weeks.  Finish time is not that fast, but is something of a confidence booster.

Tory gives me a cool medal and a ribbon for third place male.  She says that two women beat the first man.  Plenty of cupcakes left and they are terrific.   Later, the results on Webscorer and just not right.  The official results have me at 9 minutes faster than I was, plus has a couple of people who probably were half runners mixed in there.  Not a big deal for me, I piece together my results as best I can and it does not matter.  Really nice event that I hope to return to.

5th place of 12?
Marathon or Ultra # 151

Saturday, March 18, 2017

3/18/17 Resolution Run 20K

This was not on my schedule, but Jody is running with Nicky this morning and I would like at least 10 miles, to get over 40 for the week.  Easy to go up to Steilacoom for the 9AM start of this small race.  $30 DOR.  Sadly they are not doing baked potatoes this year, but there will be coffee, muffins and bagels indoors after the race.

Rain and more rain.  Going to be a wet one.  Warm enough that I don't need the rain jacket, but I will wear it anyway.  And I don't plan to run fast, just a good tempo and hopefully a negative split.  Look back over my old results and realize that I have never run a 20K before.  I have done the 20 miler here a couple of times so I know the course, but I would have thought that I had done the shorter version at some point.

No warm up, I can ease into the first miles.  Plus it is dumping rain, so I wait inside as long as possible.

Start - Right on time and smooth around the track.  Not much wind at all, but lots of puddles and rain.

Mile 1 - 8:54 - Faster than I expected.  Nice group of soggy runners trying to work around any deep puddles or street creeks, trying to keep our feet dry as long as possible.

Mile 3 - 8:51 average pace.  Ease back just a little.  Gentle uphills.  Feeling good and I like the pace.

Mile 6.25 - Turn around and glad to be heading back.  8:53 average pace.  Start moving faster and gradually passing some people.

Mile 9 - Rain is letting up.  I take the hood off and charge down the hills.  Pass a couple more.  Working harder, but the average pace is only dropping a little.  Not running with anyone, just working to catch people and move along.

Mile 10 - One guy who might be in my age group has been far ahead, but I have been gaining on him.  Put on a burst and do pass him.  But now my legs start to stiffen and it just gets harder to run.  Form is bad and I am worried that he will pass me back.  I should protect my body, relax and cruise in easy, but I have not been passed by anyone in the second half and I don't intend to let that happen now.

Mile 12.5 (20K) - Fairly difficult struggle to the end, but I do finish with a negative split at 8:49 pace overall.  Not as easy as I had hoped and I expected to be a little faster.  Very quiet at the finish line, I cheer a couple of people in, then dry off and get my results.

Hardly a fun racing event, but better than a long solo run.

14th of 34

Monday, March 13, 2017

3/12/17 Donut Dash 5K

The month of March is not going as planned.  After the DuPont Trail Marathon I was excited to run the Mountain Marathon last week.  But although DuPont went great and I held back some, the day after the race, my right hip felt like I had a pulled muscle.  Not so painful, but something to be wary of.  I rested.  Then I could run but it felt worse after that.  So more days off and on Friday I made the tough decision to not start the Mountain Marathon the next day.  I struggled with maybe running the half, but either way it is such a tough course and I did not want to be miles out there on the trail and then decide for sure that I should not finish.  So I moped around and rested all last weekend.  Gave up on my average of 40 miles a week so far this year.  By Wednesday of this past week though it was feeling much better.  On Friday I ran well and could feel nothing wrong. Too bad we were going up to White Pass for the weekend and I would not be racing.  But yesterday afternoon we decided to come back a night early and a Sunday morning 5K seemed like a great idea.

So it is $35 day of race entry but I do get a T-shirt.  And it is not raining!!  Low expectations for speed since I obviously have not done any fast work lately.  Club Oly race so lots of familiar faces both running and volunteering.  Well organized and the event goes smoothly.  I have raced this one before, but it has been a couple of years.

Two mile warm up and I feel as good as can be expected.  Mike wants me to pace him to 24 minutes.  Who knows?  

Start - Near the front on the wide road.  Go off OK and right into fast running.  Turn and watch out for the rail road tracks on the street.   No problem and off we go on the well marked, staffed and coned course.  AP sighting.

Mile 1 - 7:30 pace.  Now going gradually uphill.  Breathing is harder on me than the legs.  Trying to control my breathe but keep moving at this pace.  Legs feel surprisingly good.  We are on the Capital City Marathon course.  The Donut Dash T-shirt this year is the same color as the pacer balloons from the marathon and I can not help but think about the times I have paced the race at this spot.  Pacing I would be going about 2 and a half minutes per mile slower than this and it would be so much easier.

I am expecting this race to fly by, a 5K is so short.  But I can not see the turn around yet and the first place runners have not come past on their way back.  Then they do, and eventually I reach the turn around.  Try to take water but end up splashing my face more than drinking.

Mile 2 - 7:35 pace and I am so OK with that. Gentle downhill.  Following Grace from Club Oly, but can not catch her.  Running is hard but I feel great about my pace and nothing hurts.  Hold on as best I can, hoping to beat 24 minutes.

Mile 3.1 -  Really happy when I can see the finish line and know that I will make it.  Faster than my last two 5Ks!

I end up third out of ten in my age group and win a little bag with two gels and a blinking safety light.

36th of 318

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2/25/17 DuPont Trail Marathon

Celebrating marathon number 150!  Second year of this event and my second time here.  Brought Jody this year to run the half.  Since the full and half start at the same time, we can run the half together, then I can go out for another out and back.  Small event less than 15 minutes from home, means we almost get to sleep in.

Cold but dry!  Trails are in good shape despite a lot of rain recently.  Foggy and no wind.  Great running conditions as long as I start off with plenty of layers.

Start - We get our numbers and it is not long before we need to line up.  Decent turn out of regular marathoners.  Fun for me to have them see these trails that I run on so often.  Jody and I start near the back and take our time easing into running.

Mile 0.6 - Have to wait here in a short line as people are picking their way around the one spot with water.  There is a log to step on and branches to hold on to and I barely keep my feet dry.  Back to running.

Across the flats to Grand Junction, wide trail for passing, under Center Drive, down the long gradual Sequalitchew Creek Trail and out to the beach.  Awful loose gravel on the beach, it is slow going and energy zapping.  Then back and up the steep switch backs.  Jody slowing.  But back to an easy pace on the flats and out to the aid station.

Mile 5.3 - Aid Station is well stocked and a nice landmark.  Now the upland trail that just keeps going.  Jody slowing and walking on the uphills.  I try to reel in my pace and stay with her.  When we hit flat areas it is not hard to do so.  Around and around and back to the aid station.

Along the bluff, down the switchbacks, course thankfully skips the beach on the way back, and up the long hill.  Jody and I meet a woman and we talk our way up the long climb.  The talk really helps us all pass the miles.  Now flat, then back over the pool.

Mile 12 - Past the start area and we have to loop around a bit before coming back.  Tough when you can see the finish.  Now I am watching the clock hoping that we can beat 3 hours.  I realize that I always set a new time goal late in the race and push myself to make it, but not everyone does that.  Jody can not quite understand why I want her to move faster.  Now the last bit on the narrow trail, that last year was hip deep water.  Dry this year if you stay on the edge and I keep looking at my watch and hoping we will beat 3.  Out onto the field and yes we will do it.

Mile 13.1 - (13.3 on the GPS) 2:58 on the clock.  Leave Jody with the car key and off I go for round 2.  Goal is to run a negative split.  I really should be able to do this in less than 2:58.  Should be fun to pass some people too.

Mile 14 - Pass Monte.  Deb and Rick sighting coming towards us.  Good steady running on the flats and down the hill.  Run all the way to the beach where I take it easy and eat something.  Fast walk up the steep hill and then I can run a steady pace for a long way.  Pass Jill and Sabrina and Matt G.  No wall, I just keep plugging away and feeling good. 

Mile 25 - Been wondering about beating 5:30, or running a sub 2:30 second half but I am not quite there.  When I realize that it will not happen, and when I remember that I have the Mountain Marathon next Saturday I stop pushing it but cruise into the finish at a decent effort.  Jody is there and I have to be happy with a 2:58/2:36 split.

26.66 miles on the GPS.  Well done event that I will come back to.

28th of 39 
Marathon or Ultra #150

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.

24th of 54
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.

66th place of 113

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.

2nd place out of 8
Run for Faith #5