Saturday, December 18, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Start - Run across the mushy soccer field. Within 20 seconds I can see lots of mud on the backs of the legs of the runners in front of me. This is going to be a muddy one. Within 60 seconds I assess my position. With only 11 starters (9 of whom I know fairly well) I have a good idea of where I am going to finish. Rich, Ben, Nick and Matt are in front of me where they should be. Ron Burfurd is right behind me. He always beats me and I am going a little faster than I should, taking advantage of the more runnable grass, so he will pass me soon I am sure. Turn and onto a ball field. Onto what I think is wet pavement but is really the dirt infield. It gets muddy and slippery in one spot but I make it through. More grass and a bit of trail. I hear screams up ahead.....
Puddle 1 - Down into some thick mud and then a wide and deep puddle. This is one small section of the course that I did not preview and I had no idea this was coming. Volunteer Tammy is here and I think she was the one screaming as runners came through. The puddle is about knee deep and really muddy with bits of gravel. No way around, you have to go right through the middle of it. When I come up out of it I can feel the gravel going into my shoes and rubbing against my heel. Most of the big pieces work their way down to the bottom of the shoe and do not cause any pain, so I can keep up the pace. On to nicer trail and I push as hard as I can. Still ahead of Ron but I can hear his slapping feet right behind me. Along the river then onto pavement where I push hard. Then a turn onto grass and.......
Puddle 2 - This one is about 35 feet long and deeper than the first. Miguel is taking pictures. Ron and I are laughing. The deepest spot is almost to my waist. Then it gets more shallow and I remember that I am supposed to be racing. I slog my legs through the water as best I can and finally come up onto land. That is when I feel the cold. My entire lower half from my waist to my toes goes numb. We enter a forested single track trail that twists and has a couple of 2-3 foot bumps. I am seriously worried about pulling or straining some muscle, or falling, so I back off a bit. It is short piece through that segment and soon we are back on runnable trail and I can feel my feet again. Fairly smooth running for a while, Ron still right on my tail. At one point he make a move and we run side by side. I speed up just before the trail narrows and retake my position ahead of him.
Puddle 3 - We are now about 2 miles into the race. I have never kept up with Ron for so long. Puddle 3 is that same one as puddle 2. I am more confident now that I have been through it already, I slog on as best I can. Same numbness and sever cold on the way out. It gradually fades and I am running OK, but Ron makes his move and passes me.
Puddle 4 - Ron is just a few feet ahead of me as we turn and go through the last big puddle. This is the same as the first one except we are now going in the opposite direction. In the middle of it, I see Ron slip and come crashing down with a big splash. Tammy and I make sure he is OK and he is very quickly on his feet, but I am able to get in front of him again. All we have left is a bit of trail and then the ball fields, probably a half mile to go. If I was by myself I am sure that I would ease up and have a relaxed finish. But ugh. Ron is here, now even with me and I realize that he is going to make me work for it. I have little faith that I can beat him, but who knows, unless I try. Another speed burst, this is my last, I just can't keep this up. I am now a few feet in front of Ron and I hear him go down again. Should I stop and help him up, check on him? I can see the finish line across the field. He fell on the wet grass can't be hurt too bad if at all. I decide to finish the race and then run back to help him if needed. On I go and when I make the last turn on the edge of the field I see that he is running and is only about 20 feet behind me. And he is carrying one shoe!! I sprint on the squishy field and finish a few seconds ahead of him. We cheer on the others who are not far behind at all. I learn that Ron was not the only one to fall. Rich has a nice bloody knee and two others who finished ahead of me also had nasty falls. Everyone is in good spirits but with the rain continuing to fall we decide to go get warm before hypothermia sets in. One of the crazier races I have done.
5th place of 11
race #39 of 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Mile 24 - More downhills now. Good spirits and decent energy, just my legs are not cooperating. Too much concrete. My last two marathons and long training run where on trails and I think that is the problem. Stomach is OK and I think that the Fig Newtons are working way better than gels, so that is a big plus.
Mile 25 - Steep downhill. Too steep, I have to be careful to not fall apart and fall down here.
Mile 25.9 - Dip down and then up the last tough little hill. I almost grind to a walk, but I am so close now I keep jogging/shuffling on.
Mile 26 - My biggest fan Jody is here to take my hat and cheer me to the end. Into the stadium. I hit the grass just as my watch turns to 3:59. I will make it under four but barely. I did well to not negotiate with the watch. Maybe I would have, but every time I checked my time I realized that I had to keep pushing to beat four. I never did catch my student, he finished about 90 seconds ahead of me.
Mile 26.2 - Glad to be done. Way harder on the legs than any recent races. I will have to hobble around for a while. Lots of happy Maniacs in the recovery area. Most are pleased with the day and I rate this up there as one of my favorites.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Start - Rain shower when I arrived, but now the sun is out. It is bright and reflecting off the wet roads, so I grab my sunglasses and go for my warm up run. Legs feel OK, not 100%. Just a little less spring in my step than yesterday. But I warm up well and should be able to race alright. Five minutes prior to the start there is a huge beautiful double rainbow ahead where we will run. Sun is behind us, very dark cloud and rainbow ahead of us. Larger race than yesterday and some real fast runners here. I do not want to go out too fast, so I lined up with a couple of rows of people in front of me, but only a second or two from the start line. Right on time we are released to run.
Mile 0.2 - Heavy rain shower starts. Maybe a little hail mixed in. No strong wind, but a real downpour. Guess I won't need the sunglasses, I push them up on my head. Shoes get a little soggy and rivers of storm water run down the curb.
Mile 0.4 - Feeling boxed in and wanting to go faster. I have to go off to the side to get around a couple of people. Now I have room to run my own race.
Mile 0.75 - Club Oly volunteers at a couple of road crossings. Thanks guys!!
Mile 1 - On to the trail where I was racing yesterday. Rain has let up and maybe even stopped, but it is dripping off the leaves that remain overhanging the trail. More wet leaves on the ground than yesterday. Pass a couple of people and pleased to see that I am running the same pace as yesterday.
Mile 2.8 - Course is out and back, but has a small lollipop where we go around Horizons Elementary School. I coin a new term as I see the lead runners come toward me; I got "lollipopped". Pass a guy that I was behind for a while and settle in right behind another runner.
Mile 3.3 - Around the school and back on the trail. Pull even with the guy ahead of me and we run together for a while, picking up the pace just a bit. Eventually I pull ahead and then pass another runner. I expect to slow at any time now, but so far no one has caught me.
Mile 4.5 - Merge with the 5K runners, who started about 15 minutes later than us. They are running slower than us, but not by a whole lot. We are directed onto the sidewalk and I have to work my way around those who are running two abreast.
Mile 5 - Now I feel tired. Got to push hard for just another mile.
Mile 5.2 - Tammy Herzog sighting
Mile 5.7 - Little out and back on a side road. Sun is out and shining brightly off the road. I lower my sunglasses but they are all wet and fogged up so I do not keep them on. Try to just look at the road at my feet while taking the tangent of the curve as best I can. At the turn around I see a guy pushing a stroller not far behind me. This will be my motivation; I do not want to get "strollered".
Mile 6.1 - Have been trying to kick it in for the finish for a while now, but I have nothing left. I will finish with the same pace as yesterday and that is awesome. And no one passed me the entire race. Then out of nowhere the stroller guy comes flying past me and beats me by a second or two. I tried to match him but just could not do it. Still so pleased with how the run went.
45:37 (personal course record)
19th of over 80 4th of at least 9 in age group
Race #216 10K#29 Turn Back the Clock#2 3rd time on this course
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Since I already have my race number there is no need to get there early. I do arrive in plenty of time. Nice temperature and the rain is holding off, humid and a little misty but great running weather. Before going for my warm up run I decide to walk through the school cafeteria where runners are waiting and picking up their numbers. Good thing I took that detour because I hear an announcer say that after getting a number you have to go outside and get your timing chip. There was no chip or mention of a chip at packet pick up. They do have one waiting for me though so it is not a big deal. Outside though I find out that the start will be at the trailhead about a quarter mile away from the school and where the Run For Luck start takes place. I wonder if this course will be short by 0.4 miles. I jog down to the trail and turn left onto the trail. 0.2 miles later there is a sign that states it is mile 0.6 of the race. That confirms for me that the course will be short. I also wonder why they would make a nice sign for mile 0.6. That is about one kilometer, so maybe there will be a sign every Km. Whoever put it there should know that it is not nearly in the right place, a mere 0.2 miles from the start.
Have a good warm up, learn that the race will start ten minutes late. No problem I expected that as I saw the lines still registering when I was back at the school. I also hear that we will turn around at the Chambers Lake Trailhead. Now that seems too far. To be accurate we should turn around somewhere past the Run For Luck turn around, but well before Chambers Lake. O well, I'll just run until instructed to turn around.
Start - 10K will start first, 5K a few minutes later. We line up but no one wants to toe the line up front. A couple of people look fast, but you can never tell. I do not see anyone that I recognize and I start to think about the slim chance of actually winning. Then we are off. 30 feet down to the turn at the wide trail. One person, a woman, ahead of me, then a guy zooms out and quickly is out of reach.
Mile 1 - Feeling good. Sure that I am going too fast. I can see the guy way ahead and the woman is pulling away too. Loud footsteps right behind me. They continue for some time and eventually I am passed by a guy. He does not get far ahead of me though. I am concerned that I am going too fast and will slow but I am in a good groove. About a 7:15 per mile pace. My PR pace is 7:09.mile and I expect to be around 7:30/mile, hopefully a little faster than that.
Mile 2 - I pull even with guy who was just in front of me and decide to just run even with him for a while. If it is not too hard I can pass him later, and it sure would be great to finish as 3rd overall. He pulls ahead again but just by a few feet.
Mile 3 - The first place runner has not come back to me yet, confirming that the course will be long. Finally at mile 3.35 I see a medical tent and another tent/aid station. A volunteer is about 30 feet before them and he says that this is the turn around. I had seen the first woman go all the way to the tents before turning around and I think that is what I need to do, plus I would like a little water. I take a drink and look back and see people turning around where the volunteer is, two people get ahead of me that way. I ditch my cup in the garbage and zoom off to regain my position. The guy who was in third does not zoom out and I would not see him again. I am able to catch the two fast turners and am now in third place. But there is a large group right on my tail and I doubt that I will hold this pace much longer.
Mile 4.1 - I know that it is mile 4.1 because there is one of the random race markers here. Since it is the Puddle Jump race I jump over the one small puddle as I had on the way out too. They should have called it the leaf jump. Lots of patches of Acer macrophyllum leaves. I have to be a little careful running through those in case of any hidden trip hazards and use caution on the two short slick wooden bridges, but most of the course is clear and I try to pick up the pace on the non leafy sections. I am passed by a younger guy and then another guy.
Mile 6 - Overall pace now at 7:20. I can not hear anyone behind me. I start to think about tomorrow and whether I should save some energy for that race. But I would love to finish 5th here and I keep up pace as best I can. 10Ks can be very tough mentally and physically, trying to hold such a pace for so long, but I have done well today. Legs feel good and I am happy to be out here running. Passing some 5K walkers and joggers and I cruise on in the the finish.
Finish - Cheer on more finishers and get in over a mile cool down jog. Results are posted at the finish area and I see that two 5K females were listed as running the 10K in very fast times. That bumps me down to 7th overall, but they will fix that right? Men's results look right. Everyone gets a finishers medal and at the awards ceremony they have trophies for 1st-3rd in all the age groups. Overall male is usually bumped from the division awards so I will be getting a large first in age group trophy. After I get my award, the guy who won the race comes over and asks if I am going to give him my trophy. "Why would I do that?" I ask. He replies that he is in my age group and he was not announced for anything. I had seen his name on the results page and also recognized him as the overall winner, so I suggest that we go sort it out after the ceremony which is just about over anyway. There is also confusion because the overall female winner was given a second place in age group award (one of the 5K female results was not removed from the 10K list). At the award table we see that there are trophies for overall winners 1-3, but not for both male and female. I suggest that the woman's winner, who was second overall, take the second overall trophy as it is rightfully hers. I also point to the 10K overall trophy and suggest that the winner take that. The race director likes that idea, but also somewhere it is mentioned that the overall winners were not bumped from age group divisions like they are at most races. The overall winner wants my 1st in age group trophy, so I give it to him and he walks off with two trophies. I guess that I was second in my age group, "so can I have a second place in age group trophy?" There are many trophies on and under the table and each was listed for what age group it is for. The RD looks around a bit, but it is not there. That award had already been given out and the runner had left. So I get nothing, and I really do not need a cheesy trophy. It is more of an interesting story than something that bothers me. The RD insisted on taking my name and number so they can award me properly. I really do not need that. In my opinion chip timing is not needed for races of under 200 runners. Also inaugural events should stick to one distance as it is easier to manage.
I have often said that the only two things I really require from a race are accurate distance and timing. This race had neither, but I still had a fun time. Great to be feeling good and running near my best times. I give it four stars and hope I have as much fun tomorrow.
5th overall of 126
2nd in age group (40-49) of 7
Race #215 10K# 28
Saturday, October 30, 2010
10-30-10 Club Oly Tis the Season for a 5K at The Evergreen State College after the High School District Meet
Saturday, October 23, 2010
This week I happened to look at a package of Fig Newtons and see that the serving size of two cookies is remarkably similar to a gel in terms of calories/carbohydrates, and salts. I have packed eight Newtons to carry along instead of four gels as an experiment. Although S!Caps have helped the nausea issue (and been wonderful for the fuzzy head feeling), I still get an upset stomach late in a race and I think that the gels are not helping any.
Since I ran the Defiance 50K just seven days ago and my last marathon was a PR attempt but became a death march at mile 16, I have decided to run conservatively today. M761 is here and feels the same way, so we will make ourselves run a slower pace for the first half, then pick it up later if we feel good. I'm shooting for 1:58-2:00 for the first half and if all goes well I will be very happy to beat four hours.
Race is a little pricey with a nice cotton shirt and no medal. Aid stations every five miles so I will carry my fuel belt. Great volunteers though and safe crossing at the few intersections. Forecast calls for rain. It was supposed to be raining already, but I can see the sun rising, however dark clouds loom not far away. No wind and will hit fifty degrees, so I wear shorts and a long sleeve "Brooks Running" shirt, leaving the jacket in the car. I hope the rain will hold off.
Race is sold out, but the marathon group seems small. Larger half marathon group was bussed out 13.1 miles and will run back here. We will run out and back, with the halfers charging towards us at some point.
Start - I start way in the back with four Kuhlmanns. One is qualifying for the Maniacs club today. Good instructions from the RD that I am half listening to. We start right on time. A quick right turn and a mile out and back on pavement before we get to the East Sammamish Trail.
Mile 2 - On the trail proper now. This is a flat course. No hills at all. Maybe a slight incline or decline here and there, but so gradual. The trail is essentially a well crushed gravel road, very smooth with no stones on the two tracks and easy running in the middle if needed.
Mile 8 - Smooth running. Halfers streaming towards us now. There was some light rain but it has stopped now and I am not very wet.
Mile 11 - Trail did not change much the whole way out. Long straight sections where you can see up ahead. Feeling great. Three Fig Newtons consumed and holding a nice steady pace. Now we go off the trail and onto sidewalk and civilization. Follow the orange ribbons and chalk makings into another park. More twists and turns here, on pavement. I get off course a little as I see orange cones ahead, but that is not the way to go and I am directed back to the right way.
Mile 13.1 - Aid station. As I leave I hit the lap button and see that my halfway split time is 1:59:15. That is right where I want to be, but does not leave much room for slowing down.
Mile 14 - Significant pace upgrade. We are going faster, but it feels fine. Not that fast.
Mile16.5 - Holding that faster pace and I feel great. Mile 16.5 is where I hit the wall in Bellingham and also had big problems last week. I feel way better than at either of those races.
Mile 19 - Relaxed and feeling good. Passing people now.
Mile 21 - Eat my fifth Fig Newton and it goes down well. This is going to be a great running day.
Mile 23 - Still holding that faster pace, but very suddenly I am out of energy. Just like that M761 builds a lead that I will never narrow. But I am in a great mood. I can handle the last three miles at low energy. I'll settle into a slower pace and try to not take any walk breaks and I should have no problem beating four hours. Ah, I remember my 3:57, 3:58, 3:58 and 3:59 marathons from last Spring, where I would have four hours in the bag and then run/walk as slowly as possible but still beat four. I know that if I do not look at my watch and just give it a good effort I should have a better finish time than that.
Mile 25 - Near the finish, but have that out and back to do. I can drop my fuel belt here and it sure feels great to do so. Grind out the last mile and am so pleased to cross in under 3:55 by my watch.
Shout out to "Kimpossible" on the PR and first sub 4 hour marathon.
3:54:45 (1:59/1:55 negative split)
27th place of 77 finishers
Race #213, Marathon or Ultra #55
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Start - Line up in a good position and do not get swept away with the fast crowd. Pick off a few as we start on a gentle downhill.
Mile 1 - 7:10 mile, I am sure that I will slow down at some point, but this feels good.
Mile 2 - Passed a couple more runners. Now a series of very short but steepish hills, up and down. Just enough to throw off any rhythm I have going. Friendly High School aged runner catches me, says that he likes my pacing. I am gasping for air and my heart must be pounding but I am loving this moment. No pains, no negative thoughts, smooth form, running about as fast as I can. Thankful to be here, doing this. I am having a terrific run considering what I expected. I mention to my side kick that there are three runners packed in tight, about twenty yards ahead of us. They have been slowly coming back to me and one is the lead female. I do not think that I can catch them, but my new friend seems to not be working as hard. I say that if he can pass one, then he could pass all three and improve a lot in the final results. Eventually he makes a move.
Mile 3.1- Turn it on for the finish. I can't keep up with the pack in front, but no one passes me near the end either. Grab a cup of water, congratulate Ken from Olympia on his second place finish, then go back a ways to cheer for all the runners. After a while I see people walking in, so that must be about it. I do a little cool down run on the track and wait for results. Then wait some more. Chat with Ken and also Barbara from Elma. Took a long time, but finally results are ready and seem correct. I get a medal for first in my age group (out of four) but do not win any raffles. Later, looking at my race results for the year I am amazed to see that all four of my 5K races have been within eight seconds of each other. Today's was right in the middle.
12th place of 101
race #211, 31st race of 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Rain and wind at night. Drizzle and calm as I park my car in the dark, a block from the finish line. First bus is supposed to leave at 5:45AM. It is 5:30 so I wait in the car. Then the buses pull up and park about 50 feet from where I have my car. On the way out we get some course narration from the assistant race director. Too bad it is too dark to see anything. The start is at the Lummi Nation. We have the large warm/dry community center to wait in. Huge cedar beams and amazing totem poles. Members of the tribe come to welcome us. They sing and drum two songs for us. Then it is outside to the start line.
Start - I know some of the runners but no one who is about my pace. I will just run my own race today. I reduced my mileage in the past two weeks and think that I should have a decent run. My plan is to run a 9:02 first mile, then have the average pace drop to 9:01 at the end mile 2, 9:00 at 3 and so on. If I can do this for the whole race I will have a PR by three minutes. Not likely, but I'll pull back if it gets too hard and be happy with anything under 4 hours (9:10 pace).
Mile 3 - 8:59 pace, three seconds ahead of schedule. Feel great, holding back.
Mile 5 - No rain, nice views. Still on the Reservation. Big dog that looks like a wolf trots by. Real Bald Eagle soars overhead. Meet and run some with Maniac Tracy. Stick to my strategy and gradually pull ahead.
Mile 8 - New course has a 1.5 mile out and back here. Pedro sighting. Feeling fine. Have taken an extra gel, just to get the carbs in while I can. Surprised at the turn around to feel how strong the headwind is. Hunker down behind a larger runner,then we make a little pack with three others. I feel somewhat protected from the wind, but it probably is taking some toll. Hand slap Maniac Jill, running her 99th marathon.
Mile 13 - 8:50 pace. To lower the average pace to 8:49, I have to run a 8:36 mile here. It is starting to get harder to maintain the effort. If I had this race to do over again, I would back off right now and try to salvage 4 hours. Little did I know how bad it was soon to get.
Mile 14 - Somewhat surreal sight. Our race is fairly spread out, sometimes two of three runners together. But coming towards us is a mass of runners. Hundreds of them packed in tight and filling the road. We meet at an intersection where we turn left and they turn right. We have just merged with the much larger half marathon and they are only at mile 4. They started much later than us. The timing was nearly perfect though as they are going at just about the pace that I am going at. I am still trying to go a little faster each mile, and I do have to gradually pick my way through the crowd but it is manageable.
Mile 16- Rut Rho - I am getting very tired. Out of energy. Like I should be at mile 22. No way that I will PR. I'll ease up a bit and not worry about the time.
Mile 18 - Much worse. At an aid station (fantastic volunteers by the way) I try to down a gel and my stomach clenches tight three times. I avoid vomiting but it was very close. Otherwise my stomach had been OK, just tired legs and no energy.
Mile 19.5 - First walk break. There is so far to go and I know how tired I am, I will not even try to beat 4 hours. This is really really bad, one of my worst marathons ever. I wish I had some excuse. In retrospect I have a few ideas of what went wrong, too much to write about here. I keep a good attitude as the waves and waves of runners pass me by. Everyone I passed from mile14-18 is now passing me as I shuffle and walk a bit. I keep a fine attitude though. It is what it is, I am not injured and I will finish, not even in last place.
Mile 23 - Running on the board walk over the bay was nice. Everything since mile 16 has been part of the old course. Now I am on the trail and run/walk some with Maniac Diana. Another out and back section. Then we merge again with the half course with whom we had split from back around mile 20. So now I am being passed by marathoners and leap frogging with the tired ones, but I am also holding pace with these slower half marathoners. Making the best of my sucky running, we slog it out toward the finish.
Mile 26- Starts raining harder. I make the final turn and run fast enough so Diana can not catch me. Satisfied that I finished, but nothing that I will brag about. Oh except that after reviewing the results and comparing to previous years I have determined that myself, Maniac Jill and three others are the only five people to have completed all 4 of the Bellingham Bay Marathons. Run enough and there is always something significant to report.
173rd of 401
8th of 30 in my age group (Men 40-44) that is odd.
Race#30 of 2010
4th Bellingham Bay Marathon
53rd Marathon or Ultra
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Start - After a half mile warm up I am ready to go and feel good. I cram into the start area but can not work my way up to where I would like to be. The race starts and it is slow going for a bit. At least the race is chip timed this year not that it really matters for me. I do like the custom "Skagit Runners" chip that is designed to tie into the laces and not run on the ankle.
Mile 1 - Sorted out and have room to run. Catch and run with Maniac Bob Hearn. This is fun; there a couple of marathoners I know who I can never run with because they are too fast. But they are doing the full and their 7:35-7:40 pace is just where I want to be. 7:40 would get me a PR of 1:40 and I think it may be possible on this flat course, but I will not be disappointed if I do not quite get there. Last night I told Jody that I would probably run a 1:42.
Mile 3 - Not raining, but the road is wet with some puddles. Run with Pedro, then Steve Walters. This is their holding back pace, but I am working hard. I am holding pace under 7:40 and while working hard it feels doable. I can't be much of a conversationalist at this tempo however.
Mile 7 - Made it to the turn around in good shape. Enjoy seeing all the other runners. Now it is showering and I get a little colder, but will leave the jacket tied around my waist. Huh. All of a sudden my legs feel heavy. Some right psoas discomfort, nothing I have not had before. But the sudden heavy legs was unexpected. Harder to pick my feet up and move the legs forward. I'm still going under an 8 minute mile, its just a lot harder now, and my overall pace is slowing.
Mile 10 - I could have run that 10 mile PR today as I am right there, but I don't think it should count if I had done it, if it is part of a longer event. I am still on PR pace for the half but I am slowing and I have serious doubts now. In addition the wind is blowing in my face. Its not super fierce but there is definitely a noticeable headwind. A woman passes me and her jacket is all filled with air in the back like a parachute. That must be adding to her toil. I work to catch up to a larger guy and do a little drafting. It really makes a difference. I try to not be annoying and get too close, but even from a few feet behind him the going is easier now. Well it is still very very difficult, just a little less so. After a quarter mile however he veers off to the side to get his picture taken from some friends or family and I go on ahead.
Mile 12 - I'm being passed by more people than I am catching. Legs feel awful. My form is bad and I will be more sore after this race than usual. PR is gone, but my finish time will be OK. Best thing I can do is keep working hard and hope that this is good training for the next race. Rain has stopped. I am very familiar with this course and am able to sense the finish and parcel out the energy accordingly. Thanks to volunteer Maniac Matt for hitting the timer right when I cross the line. And thanks to Race Director Maniac Terry for another quality event.
Finish - Quick change of clothes, then I drive out to mile 23 to watch the runners go by. Fun times being a spectator and seeing some of the same people I was just with.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Start and finish is at the uptown Gig Harbor shopping center, specifically we have the Galaxy Theater for packet pick up and rest rooms. Makes for plenty of parking and a warm place to wait if needed. I consider buying a giant popcorn but decide that it probably is not wise. Big event, nice T-shirt and I will get a medal if I finish, all for $30. It was drizzling when I left our cabin at Hood Canal, now it is just very dark with clouds. Half mile warm up and off we go.
Start - Line up near the front. I'll try to hold a 7:30 pace but I am sure I will lose it on the long uphill on the other side of the bridge. Start in the parking lot with a quick left turn to a long gradual downhill.
Mile 1 - Wow, we have been going downhill for sometime. This is not going to be an easy finish. Running hard but not all out. Run a little with Maniac Ron. More downhill, then some up, through a tunnel I never knew existed, then a screaming downhill to the bridge.
Mile 3 - Maniac Pedro catches up to me and tells me how fast I am. He is too kind. I can hardly believe that I am at mile three and still even with Pedro. Strong side winds blowing across the bridge. This is my third time running across the Narrows and by far the windiest conditions. Pedro on my right and slightly ahead, I try to draft him, but it is not doing much good.
Mile 4 - As soon as we get to the hill on the far side he eases ahead. I try to stay with him but just can not do it. Now the long uphill. Slowing for sure I try to focus on form. Nearing the top, here comes Maniac Ginger heading back. She is so encouraging, telling me that I am close to the top. Yes she is right, there is the crest of the hill and I make it across the street and around the flagpole in Memorial Park. Now I get to go downhill.
Mile 5 - Flying down the hill. Getting the pace back to about 7:30. Kimpossible, Maniac Marie and Marci sightings.
Mile 7 - Now the uphill slog. I get passed by a couple of runners, but also pass a few. No talking, just trying to hold on. Thankful for the relatively flat part through the tunnel.
Mile 8 - I have a shot at that PR. Try to keep running hard. Its just tough on the uphills. Sometimes after a race I think back and wonder why I did not run faster/harder at some point. I decide to keep on working hard so that I will have no regrets.
Mile 9 - Look at the watch. I have a chance. Have to run about an 8 minute mile, not sure exactly. Too bad it is all uphill. Well almost. The last 0.15 miles is downhill through the parking lot. I'm not holding back, but I know that when I make that final turn and head downhill I will be sprinting as hard as I can. If the watch still says 1:15 (it does not show the seconds after an hour) then I have a chance.Otherwise I will back off slightly and not go all out at the end. I make the turn and the watch still reads 1:15
Mile 9.85 - A few steps into the parking lot, a quick look at the watch and it reads 1:16. Now I am running as fast as I can and loving the downhill. There is the finish line and the big clock ticking away. So disappointing to see 1:16:19, 1:16:20, 1:16:21 and 1:16:22 as I cross and feel like vomiting. Pull off to the side thinking I may throw up, but recover soon enough. Ginger and Pedro telling me that I did great. Argh that was tough. I should feel fine about my effort and finish time considering the course, and I do. I really do not think that there is anything I could have done (except to not run a marathon the week before) to have gotten a better finish time today. But it would have been so much more satisfying to have been about three seconds faster.
Nice event that I hope to run again.
54th place of 393
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I arrive at 8:10AM plenty early for the 9:30 start time. However when I pick up my race number I learn that there will be an 8:30 early start and I sign up for that. Now I have to scramble around quickly to get ready and I decide to not have that banana I was going to eat, the bagel I had an hour earlier will have to do. Its cool and really nice for running. I leave a T-shirt on over my tank top, I can always take it off later. Trails will be dry and dusty, with lots of horse manure to dodge.
Start - About 20 of us are able to take the early start. I know half of them as fellow Marathon Maniacs. Race director Eric gives us the complicated course description and promises that it is well marked. This is my third time here and I am fairly confident of the route which I have described in my earlier posts. One change is that the pipeline trail, where we take an early quarter mile out and back has been "obliterated" to quote the RD. It is now a "road" composed of large, angular, loose, rocks. The kind that they use at construction sites to knock any mud out of the big rigs. It is going to make for slow going in that section for sure. Well I wanted to start slowly anyway.
Loop 1 - 1:27:40
I start in the back and do not try to pass anyone. The Pipeline "road" is treacherous for sure. Some up and down too and I really have to pick my way over the baseball sized rocks. We have to do this out and back twice on the first loop. I wonder what it will be like when I run this at mile 18 in a couple of hours. Eventually we make it back to a regular trail and I can actually start running. At about mile 3 I do not feel so good. Trying to hold a 10:00 minute/mile pace and I can, but I feel like I am working too hard. I have run a lot of miles this month and am not well rested for today. Hopefully I will perk up soon, otherwise it will be a long disappointing day. Mile 4 I gradually catch up to Maniac Kimpossible. We run together for a couple for a couple of miles and it is nice. Maniac Robert is with us too. One turn is mismarked and we are able to direct Kim the right way. I hope that others are able to follow the course correctly. MM#1 is a couple minutes ahead and we see him at each of the out and backs.
Loop 2 - 1:23:51
I go off solo on this loop, hoping to go a little faster than I had been. I am feeling better and its a good run. The five mile, ten mile and regular start marathon races are on now. There are also a couple of High School and College cross country teams practicing. Lots of runners coming in all directions at all different speeds. I really enjoy running this course. You never know who you will pass or be passed by or pass by in the opposite direction. Random sightings of Maniacs Steve, Paul, Lesa and Greg at various times. In my early start race the sequence of MM#1, Robert, myself, Kim and Jessica is holding steady and that is the order in which we will finish.
Loop 3 - 1:33:37
My first time here I "ran" this loop in 1:45, so today goes much better. The rocky road section is slow going. Three deer very close to the road but I can not look at them much as I don't want to not look at my feet. Back onto the better trail and I am getting tired, well I am 20 miles into it. OK, this is where I need to persevere, to train running on low energy. At some pint I come to a walk without wanting too, classic sign of hitting the wall. I tell myself that I must be low on energy and the only way to get any more is to take an energy gel. I take a raspberry "Car-Boom" gel that I must have picked up at a race somewhere and I pretty much gag on it. I drink what Gatorade I can, but I have been feeling the liquids sloshing around in my stomach some and I do not want to drink too much. I have been taking my electrolytes too and the nausea is not so bad, but it is there. I pick up a slow run again. Catch up to Maniac Rick who I do not know too well but wish I did. He is nice and encouraging and we run together a bit. At some point I do seem to get my energy back. Maybe that energy gel actually did something. I am able to go long sections without walking, just walking on the uphills. I know that I am running slowly, but if I can keep this up for another 40 minutes I'll have a good finish time. I think of the landmarks; I should be able to make it to the drop bag area by 4:20 and if I can do that then I will be able to get a course record of under 4:35 and maybe break 4:30. Lots of up and downs to go though, I hate this section with its sharp turns and drops down to creek beds, followed by what seems like steep uphills now. This is part of the loop within the loop and I am doing this bit for the 6th time today. Finally "out of the woods" and I make it to the drop bag area at 4:13. Excellent!! Now I can just relax, but finish strong with a good time and I'll make my goals with no problem. Have a drink, dry my face with a towel that I left there, pick up my hat that I left a lap ago. Looking back down the straightaway I can see Maniac Kim approaching. Well I do not want her to pass me so I better get moving. The last mile or so goes well. Its nice to not have any aches or pains. A little sore ankle from the rocky trail, but I finish in good shape. Super happy to cross the finish line and see my time. 13 minutes faster than March, almost 11 minutes faster than last August.
Marathon or Ultra #52, Redmond Watershed Preserve #3
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Small mention in the Northwest Runner race calendar about this event, no website to check. I do call the phone number for more info and find that it will only cost $15 day of race entry, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity. Nothing else planned for this Saturday morning so it is a go. First race for me in Lewis County, about 45 minutes from home. 8AM start but it will be a small event so no need to get there too early. I find great parking and a nice building for registration. Powerful smell of farm animals as we are just outside that part of the fairgrounds. Volunteer asks if she can pin my number on for me, how sweet, but I think I can manage.
Warm up - This will put me at over 50 miles for the week, I did run 33.5 miles just six days ago. Legs feel OK as i do 1.5 miles warm up. Nice weather, no wind, course looks very flat. Bob and Marci are here as are two other Marathon Maniacs, but it will be a very small event. 1.1 mile race will start at the same time. A couple of young cross country looking kids who are probably very fast, otherwise Bob might have a chance for the win. Not crazy about doing a small event on roads that are open to traffic, I'll just have to watch for cars.
Start - About 25 of us. Wait for a break in traffic, then take over the road. Smooth start and soon we are all on the shoulder. Very long very flat start. As I gradually crank up the pace I can see Bob with two others sharing the lead. After about a half mile I pass the two lead women. One more young guy in front of me, then the group of 3. That puts me in 5th place.
Mile 1 - I have never run here before. There was a printed map of the course that I actually stuck in my pocket in case I take a wrong turn. With such a small group I expect to be mostly alone. The race seems well organized but there will not be volunteers at every turn. Follow the orange arrows painted on the road.
Mile 2 - My legs have had enough. I should be able to run faster, I just can not get into a better gear. If I can just maintain this pace I will be satisfied. I have energy and my breathing is OK, I just feel like I have already run 50 miles on these legs this week, which I have. Guy in front of me is at least a tenth of a mile ahead but seems to not be gaining any more on me.
Mile 2.5 - Concentrating on form and holding pace. I'm not slowing. In fact the number 4 guy is ever so gradually coming back to me. I try not looking at him for a while, then when I look yes he is a little closer. If this trend continues I may be able to catch him near the end of the race. I am working very hard to do so and I know that I would not be running as fast if he were not there as a target.
Mile 3 - Volunteer points the way to a turn. Now a couple of quick turns through a neighborhood. Number 4 is about 50 feet in front of me. We get to a turn and I am 95% focused on catching my prey. The other 5% of me notices the second orange arrow that is pointing us to make a very sharp, almost u-turn, where number 4 had followed the first arrow and taken a 90 degree turn. I am proud that I am able to say I did the right thing without even thinking about the consequences for my finishing place. I yell "HEY, THIS WAY!!" and see number 4 do a quick turn around. But now I am number 4 and he is somewhere just behind me.
Mile 4 - The predator is now the prey. It was more fun when I had someone to chase, now I just wonder if/when he will catch me. It's a long straight flat road to the finish. No chance of catching any of the first three. Just try to keep moving and in fact I am running a little faster here in the second half. Looks like a slight negative split.
Finish - Not looking back, but also not hearing any footsteps, I have a lock on 4th place. Sharp left turn and whoa, there is the finish. Course appears to be short. Two of us have 4.77 miles on our GPS (an 8K is 4.98 miles). Close enough, I'll call it an 8K. At least I did not PR and have to struggle with that. Last runners are in soon enough and results are tabulated quickly. Nice little event. I enter my race on the Brooks site and move up to 61st place!! It will drop down as others enter their weekend racing. That's fine. I just enjoy racing so much. This month I have had the mid sized 10K Race Against Crime, the big event half marathon, the 12 hour endurance run and the little 8K road race. Each one with very different vibes, but fun in their own way. Next up - I plan to finish the month of diverse racing with a return to the Redmond Watershed Preserve for the trail marathon.
4th of 17
1st in age group ribbon
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Pros - 15 minute drive from home, I know the course, its 1.5 mile loops around Capitol Lake so I will never be far from aid stations, I can quit whenever I am ready.
Cons - Its 1.5 mile loops around Capitol Lake and I can just quit whenever I am ready. I will have to do 21 loops to cover the 50K distance.
Same flat Course as this year's Run for Rett and Road-odend-run relay. I can run on packed crushed rock or pavement.
The heat wave makes for a change in plans. Its supposed to hit 95 degrees later today. I will start off faster than I should, to get more miles in the cool of the morning, then I know I will slow a lot later on. New goal is to keep going for at least six hours, then see how I feel. 50 miles seems like a bad idea in this heat.
Start - 6AM, sun just rising and temps are in the mid 60s. Running with M761 is always a nice way to run an ultra. Good pacing and nice conversation will make the time go by pleasantly. We start off at close to 9 minutes per mile pace.
Loop 1 - Watch the sun rise
Loop 2 - Slap some mosquitoes
Loop 3 - Swallow some gnats, quite a cloud of them in places
Loop 4 - OK, I'll never remember something special from each lap. Basically we would stop at the aid station each time alternating between a quick water stop and a longer water, food (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - good, fig newtons hard to swallow after a while) sunscreen, electrolyte pill, cold sponge or cloth, ice cubes under the hat.....
Mile 20 - The first 20 miles go by quickly. Some right hip discomfort and some right foot pain, but really not to bad. Bald Eagle sighting. It is getting much warmer, especially on the "back" half of the lake. More shade and a little breeze on the front half, brutal sunshine and calm the second half. After each aid station visit we have been walking a little and each loop the walk gets longer, though we have run the whole rest of the way.
Mile 25 - Starting a loop and I see Tammy out for her Sunday run. She joins us for a lap and a half and it is nice.
Mile 26 - Still with Tammy and M761 when Jody and the boys drive by. They will meet me at the aid station and it is a real nice diversion. I feel very good for being at mile 26.
Mile 27 - Halfway through the loop and Tammy veers off to go home. This is the hot part and I say that I want to walk. But I keep running. OK this is going to be hard. I will tough out this lap and if I can run the rest of the way I will allow myself to relax for the final laps. A lot of effort to keep running, but I am able to do it.
Mile 29.5 - Around and around but I can sense that the end is near. I need to walk again. M761 keeps on running, good for her. I have no need to push it in the heat. I walk, then run a bit, then walk some more with Tony C. He is a very accomplished ultra runner. He is one lap ahead of me and taking it easy, he will go on to run 59 miles today, training for a 100 mile race in two weeks. Nice company. We are leapfrogging Marie and Tory and that is fun too.
Mile 31.5 - All I need is one more lap and I will have a personal record. I'm by myself, but then there is Bill driving by to check on me. He is wearing crocs but decides to run/walk with me for my final lap. I'm in no hurry and we take our time going around. Its an oven on the back half and although my legs and energy level are OK (not great by any means) I think it is wise to call it a day. I got my distance record and time on feet record.
Mile 33.5 - Done. 22 loops. 6 hours 23 minutes. I stick around for a while hoping to cool off. Then I realize that it is 90 degrees out and I am not going to get any cooler. Go home, shower and nap. Back to the race at 4:30PM as a spectator. Amazing to see so many still going. The Prez gets his 50 miles and I realize that there is no way I would have made it that far. After the race there is a really great spread of food from the Cascadia Grill with the award ceremony and raffles. No prizes for me but the finisher's medal (dog tag) is very nice. I would like to do this race again, especially if it is 20 degrees cooler. I did not get bored with the course, probably due to the running company I had for the whole race. Great organization and volunteers. Only point of issue is that anyone with a Garmin GPS had final mileage almost a mile farther than what was recorded. The loop is certified, so maybe I should have taken the most inner track that I could each time to get a better reading. I'll go with the official distance on this one as I always do for races.
6 hours 23 minutes
36th of 46 participants
25th race of 2010
First 12 hour event