Fourth year in a row I find myself here for this uncommon distance. Same old course in Steilacoom, just add 2.5 miles on to the turn around from last month's ten miler. Foot has been gradually getting better. I should take it easy today. I'll hold back and see how I feel at the turn around, maybe get in a negative split. Not a chance of a PR or beating last year's time, so I do not have any real goal today other than to have fun and get in a good workout. Weather is looking great!! Cold and foggy but it is going to burn off and warm up. No wind. No rain. I realize that I have not been rained on in a race since the first week of October, some nine races ago.
Start - My favorite racing friend is not here...sniff, sniff.....but I think I will have an enjoyable time with so many other friends new and old. I line up way in the back, on the High School track, and it takes me a good ten seconds to get to the start line. Nice sized crowd today.
Mile 1 - In a pack of Maniacs. I already know M626 and M215. Wearing my red Maniac shirt alerts the others that I am in the club and I meet M31 and M726 who are in stealth mode.
Mile 2.5 - Feeling good and I am inching up the pace ever so slowly. Nice running with M726. I remember this little hill from last year. A year ago I very much wanted to PR and beat a certain someone. I knew it was going to be a bad day when I felt leg tired going up this bump of a hill. I had run a marathon thirteen days previously and was just not fully recovered. Today it feels fine, I am going out slower than last year, but that feeling of power in the legs, conquering this small hill, is a good sign. Oh and like last year I did run a marathon thirteen days ago.
Mile 4.5 - Volunteers are great. Even more so when you know them. Thank you for the water Wayne!!
Mile 5.5 - Pass M678, always great to see him on race day. Then a Bob Dolphin sighting.
Mile 6 - Haiku time: Black, blond ponytails - rhythmically swish to and fro - paint sweat on shoulders
Mile 7.5 - Average pace kept getting faster, I find myself at the turn around with an 8:12/mile pace, at least ten seconds faster than I wanted to be. Foot aches some but is manageable. Otherwise feeling fine.
Mile 9.5 - Slowly catching up to a pack of six runners (six pack?) No need to rush, I am slowly gaining on them. Now I am right behind them and the running is easier as I am at their pace and no longer speeding to catch them. I'll take a few minutes to regather my strength then make a move.
Mile 10 - Hey for fun lets see how many people I can pass in the last five miles and see if I can run that last five pretty quick. Tap the watch to set a new lap and make my move. In about 20 seconds I pass all six of them and hurry on my way. Running much harder now.
Mile 10.5 - Thank you Wayne, for the water again.
Mile 11 - I ran that last mile in 7:51, pass my seventh runner and keep on running hard. My next victim is M31. He is about 100 feet in front of me and coming back ever so slowly.
Mile 12 - Still chasing M31, maybe 50 feet between us now. That big blue Portland Marathon shirt is going to be etched into my brain.
Mile 13 - Still chasing M31, but I have lost form and am flailing about. Really need to regroup and focus on form
Mile 14 - M31 is gaining his lead and I do not have a chance. I am toast. It's OK though, I did not come here to beat him or anybody. I have one more mile to go and I need to just push on. This is marathon training now. It took 14 miles of good hard running to get to this point. Now I need to persevere and not slow drastically. Run on tired legs with little fuel in the tank. Think about form and enjoy the moment.
Mile 15 - Down and around the track. Surprised to see the clock still on 2:02. I am only a minute behind last year's time. First ten miles at 8:11/mile pace. Last five miles at 8:03. Was not passed by anyone during the second half and I passed at least 11 runners. Good day today.
89th of 108 runners
157th race, 5th 15 mile race