Saturday, June 27, 2009

6/27/09 Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon

4AM - Ugh. This is way to early to get out of bed.

4:05AM - Semi dressed I hear a rumbling on the street. Ten, twenty, thirty school buses rolling down First Ave. The magnitude of this race hit me yesterday as we walked to the expo and saw stacks of pallets of bottles of water. The buses confirm that this is a major operation. The race sold out weeks ago with 25,000 participants in the full and half. Starting at the same time. 7AM in Tukwilla. Shuttles leaving two points in Seattle for the start from 4-6AM. After last year's Seafair fiasco (which I managed to avoid with my always get there early attitude) I had to convince Jody to take no chances and be out the door by 4:30. She was a great sport about it. We are staying at Betty Kay's condo above the Pike Place Market - thanks BK!

4:30AM - Right on schedule we leave the condo and walk the half mile to the Westin hotel. Board a school bus and arrive in Tukwilla just after 5AM

5:15AM - I've had a good breakfast, even ate an extra bagel offered at the "starting village". More people arriving every minute. Rarely do I see a familiar face, mostly I think "who are all these people taking over my little group of regular runners?" It is chilly sitting on the sidewalk. Jody sees that a deli is open and although it looks crowded inside I reluctantly follow her in. Ah, the warmth. After just a few minutes we grab empty chairs. Now we are sitting with back support in a cozy warm spot. Very nice.

6:15AM - Say goodbye to Jody as I will use the bathroom, then check in my gear (extra shirt) with UPS who will deliver it to the finish in one of their many brown trucks. Sun is up now and it is going to be a cloudless day. This being an inaugural event with so many runners and the weather warming I have brought my fuel belt with 20 oz of Gatorade. At the last minute I decide that the organization seems so well prepared and I am going to be much closer to the front than the back, there is no way they are going to run out of fluids. I empty the Gatorade and put the belt into my gear check bag. Cell phone will have to bounce around in my pocket but should not bug me much. I have the phone to find Jody at the finish but also to snap some photos on the way. Originally this was meant to be a fun run. I was sure that it would be so crowded at the start and the course could be somewhat hilly. I was going to run with a friend and not worry about pace, just enjoy the music and the the atmosphere. But then my friend could not run, and in fact I have been running well. If I can get out of the first couple of miles at a decent pace I will roll along like usual then see what I have for the finish. Definitely want to beat 4 hours, anything under 3:53 would be swell.

6:45AM - Walking along the outside of the corrals. Jody is in #13. I look for her but do not see her. Hey I better get moving, it is easy to walk ahead on this side of the road, but I still have a sea of humans to get in front of.

6:50AM - I do make it to corral #6. A year ago when I registered on the first day (for $40) I predicted my finish time would be 3:49 and that put me up here in a low corral. I had been thinking of dropping back some, but this seems fine now. I have a great view behind me of a whole lot of people. Do not recognize anyone near me though.

7AM - Start - Very smooth. So far I have been impressed with the race organization. I walk right up to the start line and then am able to run with some elbow room.

Mile 0.6 - The first band and I suddenly miss my running friend. The moment passes with the music and I am back focused on the road
Mile 1 - 8:50 - Tremendous start. Portland needs to have a wave/corral start. This race has three times as many runners and here I was able to easily position myself well to get right into my pace. A few idiots are zig zagging and cutting me off, but its not bad at all.

Mile 3 - Hand slap a couple of cheerleaders.

Mile 4 - Been going gently uphill for some time. Now we turn off MLK way. Down a steep hill, then another turn. I hear someone fall about 20 feet behind me and see the look of concern on the spectators. I look back, see the guy get up and keep going. Note to self - keep being wary of these road surfaces. Lots of cracks and holes to trip on.

Mile 5 - Spectator says "Welcome to Seward Park". I see that there has been a sudden and significant change in neighborhoods. We are in the "nice" part of town now. Also I am now on familiar ground, having run here in the November Seattle Marathons. Long flat sections with some curves. Keep taking the tangents and there is plenty of room to do so without cutting anyone off.

Mile 7 - High five a big blue duck. Take my first Gu gel. Realize that I have developed a habit of seeking out the youngest kid at every aid station for the past couple of races. I especially like to find a 4 or 5 year old and thank them profusely, as if they are saving my life, which in fact they probably are. Hope it makes them feel important and helpful. I am going to stick to my plan of S!Caps every hour and Gu at miles 7,14 and 21. I feel a slight pull in my right achilles tendon. Same at what happened at this point in Cap City. Worry that it could progressively get worse. I could stop and calf stretch right now, it is early enough in the race that a stretch might do me good. But the discomfort is minor, more a worry that it will get worse. Continue to monitor and change the stride a little to compensate.

Mile 9 - We split off from the half marathoners with the usual jokes about changing our minds and running the half at the last second. But no, everyone with a yellow bib stays right. Up a very steep, but short hill to get on I-90. I had been worried about a bottleneck here, but there is plenty of room. The hill is steep and I consider walking, but the legs feel fine and it is not that difficult.

Mile 9.5 - Heading east on I-90, thankful for my sunglasses. Here come fast runners heading back from the turn around. These guys are about two miles ahead of me already. This is a very enjoyable time, getting a quick look and wave to the fast ones that I know. Just too many to try to name, but it seems like all the regulars are here. Oh, Steve Yee (M1) is slowing down to take my picture. You don't have to do that!! But wow it sure came out great.

Mile 10.4 - Turn around and head back to town. Can not help but think of the stormy weather we get for the November race and how spectacular it is today. Warming up a little, but a great day for running.

Mile 11.3 - We rejoin the half runners who are at mile 9.3 and enter the bus tunnel. Long dark tunnel. Oh I could take off my sunglasses and it will not be so dark. Very creepy spacey "music" up ahead. First I thought that it was strange city tunnel sounds, now I realize it is music and I can see a stage. A band is playing a standard version of Dancin in the Streets, but their sound is echoing off the tunnel walls. Grateful Dead played that song a lot and sometimes jammed to it, but as I pass and the music descends into chaos bouncing off the walls, this is trippier than a 1966 acid test. Even the photo I take in the tunnel looks like a Keith Krisa Dead concert shot. It is getting humid in here and I am thankful for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Mile 13 - Big curve on the highway ramp looking at Safeco Field. The half runners I have been with since the merge are two miles behind me and running at a slower pace. I have to do some passing to keep my pace going, but there is enough room. The GPS has been off from the mile markers for some time and I lost signal in the tunnel so I really can not trust the average pace read out. I am pretty sure that I am cruising along at 8:40 or so and I actually feel better than I did at mile 7.

Mile 15 - Split off from the halfers again and now uphill onto the Alaska Way Viaduct. I don't think that I have ever driven here let alone run on it, so it is fun new territory. We are on the lower level and the shade is nice. Pass a runner from North Carolina and I have to tell her about the earthquake danger and that this whole highway is coming down someday soon.

Mile 16 - Through another tunnel that I did not know existed. Now a long straight stretch on highway 99, most of it uphill.

Mile 17 - Still going uphill. Bright sunshine and warmth. Slowly catch up to M30 and M276. Every time I run with Manics for a bit, even if I am meeting them for the first time, they always are so pleasant and relaxed. We wave and yell to our fast friends coming back from the turn around. I give a double high five to some giant chipmunk or camel I really do not know what it is or what it is advertising. Pace has slowed just a bit as we are still going uphill and it is getting near late in the race. But I do not care. I would be happy to run all the way in with these two Maniacs. It has been a good and fun time.

Mile 18 - At the aid station I got ahead of M30 and M276 and I will miss their company, but I am ready to strike out on my own again and keep the pace constant.

Mile 18.5 - Turn around and now have a long downhill. This side of the road has some shade too.

Mile 20.5 - Slap hands with the North Thurston High School cheerleaders, my local High School. The track where I ran my only ever sub six minute mile. All of a sudden something tugs at my left foot. Strangest sensation and downright scary. Is my timing chip coming off is all I can wonder as I look down, then hear a clanging noise and realize I have been lassoed by a thin metal loop. Some rim part of a tire? As I lift my foot it rolls across the road clattering the whole way. Slightly embarrassed and freaked out, but not damaged at all I continue on.

Mile 21 - Down my third Gu. Not so easy to get down, but not so bad. Better nutrition was my only real change between this and NODM where I ran out of energy in the last miles. Maniac Val convinced me to take in more calories while running and it seems like it is paying off today. I am feeling really good. Should be a good finish but I know that the slowing can come on so fast. At least I made it this far.

Mile 22 - Back in the tunnel. With a guy who is trying to "get this little vixen to Boston" All she needs to do is run 8:30 pace to the finish and she will have her 3:45 to qualify. That sounds like a great plan to me and I stay with them, letting the guy do the pacing. I let them know that a 3:45 would have me only be 25 minutes shy of a BQ. I started ahead of them so my chip time will be a couple of minutes above theirs if we do finish together. The vixen says nothing to either of us, totally focused on her quest. I encourage her a little but keep my distance and do not distract her.

Mile 23 - Maniac Eric is back with me. I am still relaxed and feeling well. For the first time today I think that a PR (3:48:10) could be possible, although I expect a slow down at any point. We are running on the upper level of the viaduct now and getting real close to the stadium. Too bad we have to go past it on one more out and back. I let Eric know that a PR is a possibility for me in the hopes that he will encourage me onward. Oh no, now I see that on the way back, at the mile 25 mark there is a fairly significant uphill. I am convinced that I will slow there and I really doubt I will PR today. But at this point I feel surprisingly good. Eric hints that we could take advantage of this downhill now and put some time in the bank for the later uphill. I pick up the pace accordingly. I also stick to Eric's back. He is running the pace that I need to be at, so I'll just not let him get away.

Mile 24 - Hit the lap button on the watch. Hit the gas pedal and the legs respond!! I am moving faster than at any point in the race. Course turn around, splash a little water on my face but do not drink. If I walk through any aid station, like I usually do, it could be all over.

Mile 25 - This hill is not so bad!! This must be the last aid station. I am warm. One, two three cups of water splash on top of my head, good drenching down my back. Feel much cooler. Can not tell the exact time, no seconds on my digital readout. But I need to run the last 1.2 miles in about 9 minutes in order to PR.

Mile 25.8 - Passing runners, but not that many. Big turn and downhill to the Quest Events Center. Lots of spectators. Watch says 3:45 oh no 3:46. Stop looking at the watch and run hard.

Mile 26.1 - Finish line straight ahead. It better be right at those balloons. Watch at 3:47:?? Being so close to a PR, I really want this now. Sprint across the line.

Mile 26.2 - MM1 is one step in front of me. I have to stop my watch, reset the run then open the memory in order to find the finish time to the second. 3:48:07. A best ever time by three seconds. My chip time reads 3:48:04 so I will go with that one. There were two mats at the start and the finish, perhaps I did not stop or start my watch on the correct ones. Anyway I am thrilled. To be able to run for fun, relaxed, in a well managed mega event, with great weather and set a best ever time is more than one could hope for.

11:30 AM - After recovering and celebrating with small clusters of Maniacs (Eric said that we look like a swarm of bees) I find Jody who ran a good half and we walk the mile back to the condo. From the door to the building I can see runners still moving on the viaduct and snap one last photo.

3PM - Back home, on the phone with Bill and he wants to know how I managed to do so well. I thought the course was fairly easy, many hills but none were steep. Better nutrition and during the race refueling were a big factor. Also running relaxed, not stressing about time was a benefit. This was my 6th marathon in three months and I believe that my brain is better able to comprehend that distance now. I am much more at ease at the start line and I know that I can get through what will come later in the race. Also I started attending yoga classes about six weeks ago and love it. More than just flexibility and strength improvement there is some other benefit that I can not put into words just yet, but yoga seems to me to be an excellent counter balance to running.

I took advantage of the special deal at the race expo and signed up for the 2010 race for $50. Can't wait to run it again.

3:48:04 PR

788th of 5,602

Marathon 34, Marathon or ultra 35


Sunday, June 21, 2009

6/21/09 Elma Fathers Day 10K

Running a race at the same location with the same race director can lead to complacency and the opportunity to overlook important changes such as start time or course changes. With Bob Green races I know the questions to ask as I arrive. Is the race I am planning to run actually happening? Which course are we running? When will it start? Today's races include a sprint distance triathlon, a duathlon, a 10K, 5K and 2 mile race. The registration page included a 15K which is what I wanted to run but is not being offered. So I will run the 10K. Typically we turn right out of Vance Creek Park for shorter races and when there is a triathlon. Bob says that we will turn left out of the park. That is the route used for the marathon and half marathon I have done here. I prefer the "right" course as it is a very deserted scenic road. Left is busier, but either way is much better that racing out of Millersylvania State Park. We will do the 5K out and back twice. All races will start at the same time. Weather is nice but breezy as I do 1.5 miles warm up then a few strides before the start.

Start - We line up and I survey the small group. I actually have a chance of winning one of these races (in fact I did win the Odd Distance Run 8 miler some years ago) if nobody fast shows up. I have learned that it is impossible to tell how fast someone is by looking at them. One guy does look very fit and he and I are in front at the start line. Brian from Montesano and yes he is doing the 10K. I mention that as we are running the swimmers will finish and start biking and will be passing us on their bikes and that could be distracting. Some guy behind me disagrees, stating that we are turning right out of the park and will not see the bikers. I start to tell him that I am fairly confident that we are turning left when - bam - unexpectedly the start gun goes off down by the swimmers and that is our signal too, so off we go.

Mile 0.1 - Three people in front of me and we all turn left. There is a chalk arrow and I am sure we are going the right way.

Mile 0.5 - At 7:15 pace and Brian is pulling farther ahead. No way I can catch him if he holds that pace. Teenager behind him and next to a woman.

Mile 0.6 - Bikers passing us. Wait how can that be? Nobody could swim and transition and catch us in 6 minutes. 5th biker goes by and I see that he looks all dry. But if they started at the same time as us, they should have not been behind. Mystery.

Mile 1.0 - Aid station and something written in chalk on the ground. I see the woman stop and ask something, then look on the ground before moving on.

Mile 1.1 - Woman has turned around and asks me if I am doing the duathlon (run/bike/run). Too bad, she overshot her turn around by a tenth of a mile. That does put me in third place. I have no idea how many are behind me.

Mile 1.55 - Aid station and turn around. I will not catch the front two unless they totally fall apart.

Mile 2.5 - Turn onto the road to the park. Strong headwind and even a little drizzle. Hey if both of the guys in front of me are doing the 10K, I could just quit here at 3.1 and win the 5K. No I signed up for ten I better do that.

Mile 3.1 - Watch says 3.2. The teen runner is done, he was only doing the 5K. I have a lock on second place.

Mile 4.1 - Stop at the table for some gatorade and I place my cup in the trash bag so that it will not blow away. Feeling good. If I can hold this pace (about 7:26) I will be pleased. Turkey vultures swooping low.

Mile 5.5 - Second time turning into the headwind. One spectator yells for me and I start to dig it in when a strong gust almost knocks me over. Stagger on, regain my form, then get blown back again. Push on and finish well.

Mile 6.2 - Done. Congratulate Brain. Cheer for number three who is a ways behind me. Bottle of water and Swiss Rolls. My time seems slow for the pace I felt like I was running and the GPS reads 6.4 miles, so I am not going to feel bad about the finish time. Good relaxed run today.


2nd place of 3


Saturday, June 13, 2009

6/13/09 Sound to Narrows 12K

My fifth run at this race and so far each time I have gotten a little faster:

2002 - 1hr 20 seconds
2005 - 59:08
2006 - 58:27
2008 - 57:21 (7:35 per mile)

Since I ran a solid marathon just six days ago I am not expecting a super fast time today. I feel very relaxed and am just happy to be out here. Keep seeing old and new friends. Talk a little with Patty, Brett, Billy, Tammy, Debbie, Sabrina, Pedro, Jaymie, Kristi, Judy, Mike and probably others I am forgetting. Plus plenty of nods and waves to other familiar faces in the distance. Jody is here too, for her first Sound to Narrows. This is a big one, with tons of runners of all types streaming in to Vassault Park in Tacoma. It is cloudy and cool, great weather for running.

Although I do not have much of a time goal, I should be able to get in under one hour. I am wearing a yellow bib, representing the second wave (7:30-8:30 per mile pace). Four of my friends who are a little slower than me most days have selected green wave starts (sub 7:30) which is too fast for them. I do not quite understand or agree with their reasoning and decision, but this does set up a wonderful challenge. My wave will start five minutes after theirs. Can I catch and pass them? They will wisely start near the back of their wave and if I go off near the front of mine I could start off about four to 4 and a half minutes behind them. I think that I have a pretty good shot of catching them on the long uphill in the last mile.

Course review - almost 1.5 miles downhill, then 5 miles of twisting mostly uphill through the old growth forest of Point Defiance Park (same as miles 10-15 of the Tacoma Marathon), followed by a good mile of uphill. Very tough course and in some ways more difficult than running it during the marathon because I am going much faster.

Start - I had a nice one mile warm up and feel ready to go. Watch the green wave leave and take my place near the start of the yellow wave. The five minutes goes by very quickly and soon we are running. With so many runners it is great to start off on this wide street. Down down down we go. Really quiet group, no chatting, everyone running hard. Plenty of room around me, I do not feel boxed in at all.

Mile 1.5 - Turn into the park and onto the more narrow road. Steep uphill and now the fun is over. I slow, but I feel fine. Legs feel great, breathing is the tougher part.

Mile 2 - Total time is 14:10, sure that I will be slowing but hope to hold a good pace. I hit the lap button, it will be interesting to see how much I slow here on the ups and downs and again on the long uphill to the finish.

Mile 3 - Passing some green wave runners now, some of whom are walking. I try to run fast through the water station and end up getting some water up my nose. Follow the curve of the road, take the shortest curve each time. Feeling good and pleased for it to not be so crowded. The uphills make my breathing ragged, but at each downhill or level section I am able to regroup and find my rhythm. I wonder if I can hold a 7:30 pace through this section? Ripe Rubus spectabilis berries draped over the road. I could grab one without even slowing, I will leave them for Jody though.

Mile 4 - Catch a runner and then I realize it is Sabrina. Now I see Debbie up ahead. Debbie is my marathon equal these days but she was not planning to race especially hard today. I sneak up and tap her on the shoulder, but did not startle her. She says that Billy and Tammy are far ahead, but I can see Bill, only about 40 yards up the road. I press on and it takes some effort but soon I am even with Bill. Tammy, the last of my prey is in site now, but farther ahead. I keep her in my sites as best I can and move on at my steady pace.

Mile 6 - Out of the park and a sharp turn to a steep hill. The hill is short and anyone who has been here before knows that at the top of the hill is another turn to the giant down and up steep dip, some are now calling the "toilet bowl". I catch Tammy and grab her hand at the top and we turn to face this challenge together. Steeply downhill we run. Trying to not let my feet slap on the pavement, trying to stay smooth. Hard to not go too fast and possible damage something. Soon enough we are at the bottom of the bowl with only a very steep up hill, turn to a flat area, then long steep uphill followed by less steep uphill to the finish. I am tempted to stay with Tammy, but I am still feeling strong and I charge up the hill. Going so slow now because it is so steep. I am next to another woman and I remember about swinging the arms. I tell her that we need to swing our arms and she does so with me. It gets us to the top.

Mile 6.5 - Long straight uphill. I can see the flashing light. I think that I am on PR pace, but not sure because I had hit the lap button. I could push a few buttons on the watch and do some math, or I could just keep running hard. I am in a good mood and have felt positive and relaxed all race.

Mile 6.7 - This has been a really good race. I caught my prey. I should beat one hour. I can just coast in and not struggle much and still have a decent finish time. Some spectators line the street now. Music. Familiar music blaring. Usually it is "Born to Run" or "The Eye of the Tiger" but no this is different. One of the great all time classic bits of rock, right at its most awesome moment. And in a span of two seconds this is what goes through my mind: "Funny just yesterday my friend Lin (no da) mentioned her birthday buddy Pete Townshend. Neither Lin nor Pete would want me to ease up now and especially not at this moment in the music. It would be a shame to not give it my all right at this time. This is just the perfect moment for this song. I dig deeper and run this in honor of Lin. I am now directly next to the speakers, Rodger Daltry howls and it is "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" and a surge of energy and emotion wells up from within and drives me forward. To suffer here and run my best is the right thing to do.

Mile 7.2 - Turn to the park is up ahead. Look at the watch and realize that I have a significant personal best time in the bank. Hurry around the turns then finish strong but do not sprint to the death on the grass at the very end.

Mile 7.5 - Finish. Really psyched. Do a little uncharacteristic fist pumping. Start bragging a bit. Celebrate the moment anyway because they do not come so often. I have been hearing more and more runners say that their best times come when they are relaxed and not planning for it. Last week was a bit of a let down because I thought I had peaked for that run and carefully ran a well planned out race only to come up short of the PR. Today with no expectations I took 40 seconds off last years time. That on very little speed work, certainly way less than last year.

We all meet up and exchange stories. Jody also ran well and enjoyed the course. I think that having my green wave prey helped me focus during the middle stages and having The Who kick me up the last hill at just the right moment were instrumental in the PR. Positive attitude, beating the tough course and finishing strong makes this one of my all time best ever runs. Amazingly awesome day.

56:40 12K PR
255th place of 2,507

Sunday, June 7, 2009

6/7/09 North Olympic Discovery Marathon

Last three marathons I had good excuses for being slow. Cap City was running with Jody, Tacoma I had a miserable cold and Easter I had just run Yakima the week before. Yakima was a fast time for me and if I count the last three marathons as training runs, then I should be able to do well at NODM. Anyway I tried to come up with an excuse for not being my best and just could not find one, so I will set a PR pace and really work to beat 3:48.

I have wanted to run this one since it first came out some seven years ago. I always had a commitment on this date until this year and was thrilled to be able to sign up and have Jody come for the weekend getaway. She will run the half. I have heard some great things from Maniac friends and not so great things from other runners. Very interested in seeing and running this course for myself.

Start - Get on the bus at 6:45 for the ride to Sequim and the start of this point to point race. Arrive in plenty of time. It is cloudy and cool with little wind, very good conditions. I like this start area at the Carrie Blake Park. A large indoor community center with tables and chairs. I eat my breakfast and chat with fellow Maniacs. Lots of them. They keep coming in with each busload and filling the hall. I usually do not stick around after races and we are seldom so congregated before a race. It is fun to hear tales of maniacal accomplishments. Three at my table raced a marathon yesterday!! At 8:30 it is time to use the bathroom, drop off my extra clothes at the gear drop and find the start line. Everything goes smoothly and soon we are racing.

Mile 1 - I was not expecting a long gradual uphill right out of the gate. It is not steep at all, just a little long.

Mile 4 - We have completed a loop and are back at the park and start area. Been running with a woman from Wyoming for a bit. When I told her my time goal she asked if I minded if she ran with me. I thought that was nice and she is good company.

Mile 6.5 - Still waiting for this supposed beautiful scenery. Now we are on the main street in Sequim with many orange cones protecting us from the open to traffic road. At least it is flat and I am running at my planned pace. I am behind and a rather large pack though and do not like the crowded feeling. I decide to move ahead and I work my way past them. Ms. Wyoming does not stay with me and I do not see her again.

Mile 7 - Finally onto the Discovery Trail. This is an almost completely paved rails to trails bike path through farm land, across a river and couple of creeks and finally down to the waterfront for the last four miles.

Mile 8 - Gorgeous heavily shaded long wooden bridge over the Dungeness River. Running here is worth the price and effort of the whole event.

Mile 10 - Mile marker at 9 was off now it is off in the opposite way at 10. If correct this means I am running slower that my GPS has recorded. I pick up the pace to get in sync with the mile markers.

Mile 12.5 - McDonald Creek, the first of the dreaded "creek beds". Steep downhill, cross a bridge then steep up and out. Not bad at all.

Mile 13 - Aid station with cool balloon structure to run through. The different groups that volunteer for the aid stations have a competition and we get to vote for our favorite after the race.

Mile 13.1 - I am just a minute ahead of schedule so I take a short walk break. So far so good. Also I reset my watch which is reading 13.2, so I can follow this lap and continue to pace myself accurately.

Mile 15 - Running smoothly and on pace.

Mile 16 - Seibert Creek. Steep down and steeper up. Now we get into a series of little hills, somewhat steep. Any one of them are no big deal, but compared to the first half of this race, the second half is proving to be hillier. Sharp left turn and I let out a yell of dismay at the steep but short uphill. Mile 16-20 will take its toll on me.

Mile 19 - My favorite aid station. It is set up like a fine French restaurant. Kids are all dressed up formally. In front is one girl at a podium and she is obviously the Maitre d' of this establishment. Then comes tables with white linen and candles, with a crystal bowl of pretzels. Finally the water and Heed drink station. Such a nice surprise in the middle of this forest trail.

Mile 20 - Bagley Creek. Last of the creeks and toughest of the uphills on the other side. Catch a guy who is walking and I decide to do the same. We agree that it is strategic walking here. Stretch out the legs and really we are not going much slower than we would be running. Finally at the top, but my pace says 13:30 as I had reset the lap button at the mile 20 marker. Doing some math I know that I need the last 6.2 miles to be run at just under 9 minutes per mile in order to PR. Starting off at 13:30 is no good, but we have a nice long gentle downhill to go.

Mile 21 - Making up time and I get the lap pace down to 8:59. Long gradual downhill. Paved trail is a little sticky for some reason. I should be able to go faster but I am tiring.

Mile 22 - At sea level now. Trail runs along the water with nice views. Still cloudy but no fog and just a little breeze in my face. I catch up to Maniac#56 who I have not met before. He tells me to kick it in, but I am really starting to feel tired. Should have had that second gu, don't think I can down it know as I have some nausea and a little light headedness. I have been taking my S!Caps but still have just a touch of my old problems at this point.

Mile 23 - Do the math and see that a PR is very unlikely.

Mile 23.5 - Sure that I will not PR now. Take a little walk break.

Mile 24.5 - Course takes a short detour around the old paper mill. Surface is dirt trail with some large rocks and uneven surfaces. I take a few short walk breaks. It is disappointing to not PR but I have had a good run today. This will be one of my faster times, just no record.

Mile 25 - Difficult going, want to walk but keep plugging along.

Mile 25.5 - Head down, not in decent shape at all. So ready to be done.

Mile 26 - Large pack of walkers in front of me. I dodge around them, see Jody taking pictures and finish as best I can, but there is no sprint. Photo make me look like I am leading the way.

Mile 26.2 - One neat feature of this race is that every finisher has their own personal attendant to take care of you. As soon as I cross the line there is a volunteer there to make sure I am OK. He puts the finisher's medal around my neck, hands me a bottle of water and leads me to the timing chip removal station. From there he gets me my drop bag and walks me to the spectator area where Jody is waiting. Jody (2:02 half marathon PR) is very happy with her race and we get some finisher food before I shower and we drive home.

Great race, good run. Tough last four miles but emotionally I stayed in good spirits. Lots of post race stiffness and a few aches here and there but I should be running again soon. In fact it looks like I will run an easy Sound To Narrows this Saturday.

3:53:35 5th fastest of 33 marathons
96th place of 310 runners, 6th of 20 in my age group
Race #165