Sunday, May 18, 2008

5/18/08 Capital City Marathon

Seems like I was just running a marathon 8 days ago. This will be my first time doing back to back weekends. No pressure to run fast, all I need to do is finish and I will accomplish many goals. Warm with abundant sunshine.

Start - I feel a little suspect downing a pill, but the Succeed S-caps are just sodium salts. Lesa recommended that I try them and I was so pleased to see the box arrive in the mail earlier this week. They are supposed to help with nausea and light headedness my two biggest limiting factors on most marathons. I also feel a little funny with my purple #5 bib and yellow tank top. I am not a tank top guy, but it is warm today. Throw in a new white cap and sunglasses and I barely recognized myself. Say hi to Mike and Ashley and plan to run nice and easy with Ashley with walking breaks at the water stops.
Mile 2 - Giving the tour of Olympia. Here is a course I know well. Many a long run on the outer miles. This is the third CCM on this "new" course and I have run them all. My 4th CCM in a row, and 5th CCM (hence the number 5 that I did not ask for but was a nice touch. Ron Fowler got number 25)
Mile 4 - Dumping water on my head to cool off already. I usually save that for later in the race, especially if it is cool or windy, but no chance of that today and it feels nice.
Mile 8 - Pleasant running with some friends. We are going slower than last week, but not that much. I look forward to showing off the big hill to come and it does not dissapoint.
Mile 12.4 - Mike Strong is walking?! That is really bad. Later found out he dropped out at mile 14. We are running steady at about 8:43/mile average.
Mile 14 - Hill number 2 conquered. Really it is a small one, but a little steep and up out of the sea level we had just dropped to. This hill marks the end of the rolling hilly section and leads to 5 miles of gentle up and level.
Mile 16 - We hear a runner fall behind us. I see Maniac Herb on the ground and stop to turn around, really afraid that he collapsed or something. He says he is fine, just tripped on the gravel and took a spill. He catches us and I see the blood dripping down from his knee, cool, and so glad he is OK.
Mile 17 - It dawns on me that I have had zero lightheadedness and very little tummy trouble despite having a gu, lots of water and some ultima drink. This is awesome!! I felt way worse at this stage of the race last week. My quadriceps however are starting to really complain. Nothing I can do about that. Ashley and I had been starting to split up a bit, sometimes me in front, other times she took the lead. Now she is moving ahead for good. Time to battle it out with myself.
Mile 20 - Take a pill at the water stop. I have done very well to not take any walking breaks, except at the water stations, but now I will start the walk/shuffle/jog thing. Later in the race than last week!! And it is only because my quads are shot. I can blame the tired legs on Tacoma and be very pleased with whatever happens now. I dump 4 cups of water on my head. Much of it reaches my shoes and makes them heavy and soggy. I can feel my socks sliding around.
Mile 21 - Playing leapfrog with a couple of runners. Head is great and I am in good spirits, joking with the spectators and volunteers. Long steep downhill. Sudden knee pain/twinge. I am sure it is because my quads are in tatters and I am not too concerned, but it stops me in my tracks and I need to walk.
Mile 22 - Here is the final hill, the dreaded, long Eastside mountain. I put my head down and jog along at a slow pace but make it most of the way without walking. I remember previous years here, staggering or walking because I might faint. This year my head feels good and I am so grateful for that.
Mile 23 - Being passed by a fair share or runners, but what should I expect at 10 minutes per mile? Knee pain again, and again.
Mile 25 - My favorite location in all of racing, I see the downhill ahead. I am not going to beat 4 hours, but that is OK. Not too focussed on the watch. Also feeling like I should not give it my all on the long downhill to the finish in order to protect my legs and not end up on the ground. I have a real fear that my legs might just give way.
Mile 25.7 - I can see the finish now. Pick up the pace some. Not quite as emotional as I had expected.
Mile 26.2 - Done and survived in pretty good shape. As I walk around I can tell that my legs are more beat up and stiffening worse than last week. Eat some pizza, watch the finishers and keep moving some. So great to see Tracy finish in just under 5 hours.
126 of 315
Race #136 Marathon #20 Capital City Marathon #5

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tacoma City Marathon 5/10/08

Funny how things change in a year. Last year I was dissapointed when I heard about this race. Not that I did not want to run it, just not happy with the date being one week before Capitol City. A year ago I thought that no one could run both races, that would be crazy. Surely you would lose about 30 minutes on the second race and it would be pure misery. But then I did hear about some folks who did both, and some even ran faster on week two. A few were qualifying for the Marathon Maniacs club. I took a closer look at that club, met a few members and planned out the easiest way to get in, 3 marathons in 3 months, which seemed quite possible. That went great and it has been off to the races ever since. I have so much fun at races and am doing so many, so what if I take a hit in finishing time once in a while? It is not like I am racing to win. I will just do my best and let the chip time be what it may. Cloudy, nice temperature, no wind, who could ask for anything more?
Start - Always fearful that I am going to oversleep and miss the start but it has not happened yet. Arrive in plenty of time. Cheer on some of the early starters. See some friends. Watch the introduction of the pacers who arrive by limo. That was funny and classy at the same time. Met my pacer Steve. I am going to run with the 3:45 group which would give me an unrealistic PR by 6 minutes. But that pace is still slower that I have started the last few races, and I am still a beliver in putting some time in the bank for the inevitable crash.
Mile 2 - We have gone out faster than I thought we would, but Steve is in control now and pace has slowed down some. I am not feeling that good though. A little sluggish, feeling my legs and not really enjoying running. That is odd. I even think about just dropping out and walking back to my car. Very unusual for mile 2!!
Mile 3 - Wright Park - Always heard about it, had never seen it.
Mile 4 - Stadium High School - Always heard about it, had never seen it.
Mile 5 - Sea level - Ruston Way - Have driven and run along here a few times. Staying right with the pace group. We have put some time in the bank for the hills to come.
Mile 7 - Still not feeling so good. This should be the easiest and best part of the race where I am running comfortably, but it seems a little fast for my legs today and my stomache aches just a bit. Others in the group are talking a lot. I am hearing war stories (from Iraq), all about jet engines and radar, and arborculture. Sometimes they try to get me in the conversation but I am not that interested. I prefer short exchanges, then focus on the running. Most people get real silent later in the race and that is when I like a little conversation as a diversion. I hope that I do not bug people who are focussing on running, I am trying to be sensitive to that.
Mile 8 - Through the tunnel. I try my loon call but can not get it out properly. Big hill a coming. We maintain effort, thus slowing down, but get to the top in good shape. Someone asks if my Maniac tattoo is real. Excellent, I was hoping for that, but of course tell her the truth.
Mile 12 - In Point Defiance Park on the 5 mile drive. Long long gradual uphill. Have I really run this twice before at all out pace at the Sound to Narrows Race. I forgot how brutal that course is and now I am doing it as the middle third of a marathon.
Mile 13 -Feeling the best I have all day. Right with Pacer Steve and about 10 of us in a nice pack. I am sure that they will leave me soon, but lets at least get past Billy and Tammy so they will think I am running strong.
Mile 14.6 - There is Billy, I don't think he even saw me in the pack.
Mile 14.8- There is Tammy. Throw my sweaty hat to her and another runner joked that I was being rude.
Mile 14.9 - Up the steep hill coming out of the "dip". Tough at Sound to Narrows and tough today.
Mile 15.5 - Losing contact with Steve and the 3:45 group. Next to a woman who suggests that we need to reel them back in. I am strong enough to do that and we are back in the pack.
Mile 16 - That did not last long. Pack is getting away for good this time. Feeling warm I take off my outer shirt and tie it around my waste
Mile 16.5 - Feeling cold. Put shirt back on.
Mile 17 - First walking break. Head a little light, legs tired. Don't like all these turns in the neighborhood, can't maintain pace. Poor me.
Mile 20 - Pity party is over. Spirits are better, but today is not my day. 3:50 pacer passes me. I keep getting light headed on the uphills. Not severely so, but not something I can push through. When I walk for just a few seconds it gets much better. I am taking many short walk breaks. My pace has slowed and I take a look back expecting to see Ashley catching up, but she is nowhere in site.
Mile 21 - Oops, there she is, I knew she would catch up. Next half mile is a pleasant run together along the "trail" beside Highway 16. I think the trail is an extra lane or off ramp and others do not like it much but I do like being able to see a ways ahead and know what is coming, rather than all the quick turns alot of the course has had. As for being able to see far ahead I can now see that we are approaching another longish uphill. I encourage Ashley to keep going as I need another break.
Mile 22 - I want to be Judy Fisher when I grow up!!
Mile 23 - Pass a guy wearing a " running with diabetes" t-shirt. He has an insulin pump on and I think about asking him if I can use it for a mile or two just to see what is going on with my blood sugar. I hold my tongue but do encourage him and move on.
Mile 23.5 - Woman with my same Maniac shirt catches me. I ask her name, secretly suspecting that it is Lesa Overfield and in fact I am right. Nice to meet her and we talk a little. She beat me by 6 seconds in San Fransisco and I was hoping to meet her.
Mile 24 - What a beautiful down hill!! Legs are OK, no pains and my head is still attached. At the bottom the hill I slow a bit and send Lesa on her way.
Mile 25 - Significant de ja vu. I have run here before with these same people around me, except I have never been here before and do not know the guys I am with now. Feeling passes quickly. If I start hallucinating I will walk it in. Actually feeling happy, relaxed and running better with the shortest of walk breaks now and then.
Mile 25.7 - I have done well to not look at or negotiate with my watch. Just running as well as I can. With about a half mile to go and feeling like I could speed up I look at my watch and see that if I can do it in six minutes I will beat 4 hours. Having a blast, I pick up the pace.
Mile 26 - I know where I am!! This is where I park when I visit UWT, Here is the walk way between the buildings. Sprint around a planter box and start looking for the finish.
Mile 26.2 - Awesome finish area. I am running strong and really enjoying myself. Blow some kisses to the crowd and yell "I love Tacoma!!". Ask for two medals because I ran hard but he says I would have to do another loop. I feel like I could keep running for a while, my fuzzyheadedness caused me to slow more than my legs needed the rest. I have a new "limiting factor" to work on. Time to recover/taper for CCM.
126th of 347
race #135 marathon #19 Tacoma City Marathon #1

Saturday, May 3, 2008

5/3/08 Public Agency 8K

April 13-19 = 51 miles including 20 miler
April 20-26 = 42 miles ending with a killer 15 mile hilly workout
That is a lot of miles for me and it is time to taper for upcoming marathons. My easy runs this week have not been so good, just feeling sluggish and no spring to my step. Took an extra day off and it will be interesting to see how today's race goes.
Tons of friends and familiar faces. It is like a reunion here. Same short course as last year so I am prepared for that. Light rain.

Start - After a mile warm up I go to retie my shoes. Severe lower back pain/spasm as I bend over. This is the third race in the past six months where I have had this pain after warming up, while bending over to tie my shoes. Very strange. Note to self: don't bend over.
Hey there is Mike Strong. We greet each other and he says that he hopes to run a seven minute mile. Sounds like a plan. I line up behind the front row of fast guys and take off fast for the downhill start.

Mile 1 - On level ground now and I did the first mile in about 6:38. Difficult to determine how fast to take a downhill start. I should take advantage of the slope, but not go so fast to burn adrennaline or have my leg turnover be excessively fast. Too late to experiment with a slower start this year. Mike has caught up to me and we are side by side.

Mile 2 - Around the lake. Still with Mike and a nice pack of runners. Two guys in front of me are chatting away and looking very relaxed while I am working hard. I do pass them but it is not easy.

Mile 3 - Passing tons of walkers, holding my own with the runners. Even with Mike but here comes the Brewery Hill.

Mile 3.5 - Top of the hill, still with Mike. He seems comfortable while I am gasping for air. My legs are OK, but I am getting out of breath. We encourage each other and continue on.

Mile 4 - Mike eases on by. I catch him once but it takes a lot of effort and he gains the lead for good this time. I am well off of last years pace, but it is fine. I feel good, just can't get the legs to go as fast as I would like. Getting wet, even a little soggy in the shoes. But my attitude it fine. Again, that feeling of belonging. Bob Martin way up ahead of me, Jay or Erik Lindburg just in front of me, other regular runners in front or somewhere behind. This is where I am supposed to be today, doing what I love and was meant to do.

Mile 4.8 - This has to be one of my favorite finish areas. Half mile downhill, left turn and a long view/sprint to the finish. Kick it in to high gear and call it done. Raining harder now, I cheer on a few finishers then go to the car for dry clothes. Sit in the car till the rain lets up, then go to the awards ceremony. They start early this year and keep it moving, but alas, no award or raffle win for me. Plan to come back next year for this quality event. Hopefully a good tune up before the marathons.

27 of 119
race #134, Public Agency race #5, Public Agency 8K # 2, 8K #7