Saturday, December 18, 2010

12-18-10 Pigtails 50K

My third consecutive run here, second on this version of the course. Severe windstorm predicted for the night before almost had the race cancelled. 70% chance of rain and temps in the mid to upper 30s. Four of us carpool to the start and have to stop a couple of times to clear branches from the road. It is very gusty and cold as we get ready for the start. I had struggled over whether to wear shorts or long pants but just a few minutes outside confirmed that I should go with the tights. I can always take them off and wrap them around my waist if I get super hot, but at the slower pace of the ultra I don't see that happening. I will wear my rain coat over my Maniac jacket (manufactured by Brooks) and should be fine...with hat and gloves too.

Its much easier to come back to a race for the second or more time, knowing the course and what to expect. Of the 137 who registered for the race 103 make it to the start line. I probably know half of them and it is always fun to see and later to commiserate with fellow Marathon Maniacs. We all get commemorative beanie hats that are super nice. I'll have to wait till the finish to see what style finisher's medal RD Van (Pigtails) Phan has made. They are always so unique and fun.

Start - Find M761 and we start off in the early morning light along the short out and back of the pipeline trail. Then over the Cedar River on the road and onto the long trail.

Mile 5.7 - First aid station. Stock up on fluids. Move along.

Mile 8 - I am on a PR pace. Feel fine but I know that I will slow at some point. No real time goal, would be nice to beat last year's time I guess. Big tree down on the trail, have to climb around it.

Mile 14 - Have felt the wind at my back off and on for a long time. Now I turn around and have to run into the wind for the next 8 miles. Its not so bad, but at times I can feel it zapping my energy.

Mile 16 - Bob Dolphin sighting.

Mile 21.7 - Back to the staffed aid station. Marathoners continue on straight to the finish. 50K runners go up a hill on a side trail for a 5 mile out and back. A person could decide right then to only do the 26.2, even if they had registered for the 50K. I am getting tired and a little nauseous, but I'll continue on as planned. Kimpossible who has been with or mostly a little behind me all morning had registered for the marathon but here at mile 21.7 makes the crazy decision to add five miles to her race. Awesome!!

Mile 22 - Struggling now. Simply out of energy and having a little stomach cramping. M761 moves ahead and will go on to run a PR. I remember two years ago, it was our first 50K. Neither of us knew the full course and with the small group and absolutely frigid temperatures we decided to take it easy and also stay together the whole way. Last year we ran together. M761 tired near the end and I guess that I could have beat her, but I stayed with her and pushed us only hard enough to beat the time from the previous year. This year it is good for her to work for a fast time. We know the course and are safe among a much larger group of runners. I start leapfrogging a guy named Everett and I could just stay with him if I feel like company. At the turn around I see the Kimpossible and the Lone Wolf are not far behind at all.

Mile 26.7 - Back to the aid station. I make myself eat something. Despite an upset stomach I drink some Gatorade and eat a "fun sized" snickers, some potato chips, a fig newton and then drink some warm cider. I actually feel better after that. Time to set a finishing goal. If I can hold a 12 minute mile I should get in under 5:30 and that will beat last year's time by a few minutes. I jog for a while and take walk breaks quite often. Easy to be under 12/mile, I hold it closer to 11s.
Mile 28 - One familiar Maniac passes me and then Kimpossible. I have no motivation to try to keep up, I just stick to my own plan. Snow starts, then rain, then snow then more rain. Wet and cold but trudging along fine.
Mile 30.5 - I remember last year that there was a small road crossing just about a half mile before the finish. I decide to hold back and just keep slogging along with walk breaks until I get to that road then I will push hard to the end. But the crossing never appears and next thing I know I am at mile 31.1 and can see the finish just ahead as I round a bend in the trail. Too bad, I could have cut a few seconds off my time, but I am happy to have set a goal five miles back that I have easily achieved.
Mile 31.1 - Finish. Wet but happy. Nice medal made from a pink poker chip. I am left wondering how much farther I could have kept going at that pace. I do not want to register for a 50 miler just yet, but I would like to do a timed 12 hour or 24 hour race just to see how long I can run after hitting the wall. Perhaps I will get my chance to find out next year.
2010 - 40 races, 16 marathons or ultras
29th of 39

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tis the Season for a 5K Club Oly Cross Country Race #3

At Pioneer Park in Tumwater for the Club Oly cross country race. Significant course change from last year. Somehow this is both a two loop course and an out and back race. I know that does not make sense, but that is the best way to describe it. Well marked with cones and arrows. Lots of different surfaces including mushy soccer fields, nice packed gravel, some muddy trails and even a little pavement. On my warm up run I toured most of the course and found the huge "puddle" that we have to go through. No way around this and it looks deep. It is cold (about 41 degrees) and raining lightly. It has been very wet recently and there are puddles everywhere. At least it is not windy. I warm up well and keep running right until the start time so as to not get chilled. Fortunately we start right on time.

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 #219
race #39 of 2010
5K #57

Sunday, November 28, 2010

11-28-10 Seattle Marathon

My third time here. Five years ago I ran this seven weeks after Portland and was concerned about how it would go, running marathons so close together. This year I ran a marathon five weeks ago and I am concerned that it is too far apart. I got in an OK long run on the trails two weeks ago, then the weather turned icy and nasty and all training fell apart. In a way it is good as some minor aches have gone away. I mostly want to have fun today and to beat four hours is always a goal.

I have a trash bag with me to convert into a rain poncho if needed, but it looks like we will luck out and be dry. It is cold so I have my jacket, hat and gloves. Eight fig newtons in my pockets and some S!Caps, but no Gu or energy gel. This is a continuation of my nutritional experiment from the last marathon that went very well.

1.3 mile walk from the condo to the start line. I time it well and get to see the huge race that is the half marathon go by. Jennifer Seward sighting. Then cluster around with other Maniacs. This race draws so many club members and with its two out and back sections it is really fun to see everybody. At least eight people that I know are completing a "Quadzilla" today which is four marathons in four days. Three of those will go on to run much faster than me today. Another friend will finally get that elusive BQ after much effort and deliberate training. One of my students is here running his first marathon. He will catch up to me at mile 2.5 and run with me until mile 4. Then he will blaze on much too fast. I expect him to come back at some point, but will he?

Start - Well organized race and it is a smooth start. M761 finds me just before we are released. Run with her and M111 for a bit

Mile 1 - I managed to not run into a monorail support, goal number one accomplished today. M111 goes off faster. He is finishing the quad today. Twice this year he passed me late in a race, even though he was on the second day of a double. I thought that maybe after a triple we might be about the same speed, but he is way ahead now and I will not see him till after the finish.

Mile 2.5 - Half Marathon walkers are not a problem this year as they are on a different highway ramp. I do not like all this concrete, but I feel good.

Mile 4 - In the Express lane tunnel. Lose GPS signal. My student gets ahead at a water stop and I do not try to keep up. Suddenly I am surrounded by three members of the Kuhlmann family. Fun to see that M761's siblings are getting faster.

Mile 6 - On the I-90 bridge. Very little wind which is a good thing. Holding a steady pace, a little faster than I should be, but not too bad.

Mile 8 - Bob Dolphin sighting.

Mile 13.1 - Nice steady running. Hit the half at 1:56 and change. Two minutes faster than I had planned, but well within range.

Mile 14.5 - Pass two guys who are walking and I overhear one say "Maybe if we had trained this would have gone better".

Mile 18.5 - Starting to tire. Legs a little stiff. I encourage M761 to go on ahead. I keep running though, holding pace. Soon I catch Maniac Lesa and we run together. Like M761 she is great company for me. Don't have to talk all the time and I know that her finish times are similar to mine. Big hill here I had forgotten about. I had been waiting for the super steep Galen street hill, but there is a big one now that takes a little out of me.

Mile 20.5 - Galen street hill. So steep it is crazy. At least it is short. As soon as I start climbing I can feel both my calves tighten up. Not quite a cramp, but something seriously different. Able to keep running, we level off then climb the longer but less steep Madison street. Now both legs are tightening up all up and down. A little painful but mostly just uncomfortable.

Mile 22 - Downhill, now back up through the arboretum. Climbing, twisting road. Seems to level off, then goes up again. Tough to keep moving but I do not stop to walk and I am passing lots of walkers. My running pace has slowed and runners are passing me but I'd like to not walk and I think that I will have to do so if I am to beat four hours. Plus I may get "pigtailed" or "kimpossibled" if I slow any more. Large photos and memorial signs from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on both sides of the road. I think of their suffering and how minor mine is and I move a little faster.

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.

861st of 2284
56th marathon or ultra
31st sub four hour marathon
3rd Seattle Marathon

Saturday, November 13, 2010

11/13/10 Club Oly Tis the Season for a 5K, race #2 at Millersylvania State Park

My third time here at this great little race. 2008 was a three mile race, but for the last two years the course has been lengthened to be much closer to a 5K. Huge variety of trails but they are all flat.

I am thinking about the Seattle Marathon that is two weeks away and that I have not run long for three weeks now. I really should get in a long run. I could do it tomorrow, but here I am up early and dressed to run. I decide to do a very long warm up, run the race as best I can, then finish with a super long cool down.

A little muddy in spots but I have seen it much worse. Its cool and foggy and may drizzle. I run 5.7 miles alone on the trails before the start. At a bridge that crosses a little creek I see two large coho salmon.

Start - Twelve of us line up. One more than last year. A couple of young guys and Rich is going to run as well. We start off and four of them explode away, a tight pack when I see them on the short out and back section. Meanwhile I am running way too fast and I know I will slow. I hold with Ron who always beats me and Nick is in there two.

Mile 1 - Ron has pulled away. Nick is pushing me from behind. Whenever there is a good section of trail I put on a surge, then ease up a bit where the trail gets rough or I just run out of steam. Nick passes me and looks like he is out for a stroll.

Mile 1.75 - At the end of the first loop, all the volunteers and spectators are cheering. The sound dies down and I can not help but listen for the next round of cheering so I can know how far back the next runner is. Sounds good, looks like I am locked into this position.

Mile 3.1 - Smooth running to the finish. I did slow some but my time is 24 seconds faster than last year. I gave it a good effort and am happy with the result. Everyone got a pumpkin pie and I won a "raffle" and got a nice pair of socks. I am starting to cool off and really need to get running again so it is back on the trail, but as slowly as I feel like going, which is very slow at this point. Five miles into it I turn an ankle and almost fall. That ankle is OK but within another mile my other ankle starts to bug me. The next couple of miles are a debate on how much farther to push myself not wanting to get injured. Finally I get good and tired and go for another half mile before quitting. 18.2 miles for the morning. Got in the long run, the race, and the ankles are fine.

22:23 (course record)
7th of 12
race #217
ClubOly Tis the Season race at Millersylvania #3

Sunday, November 7, 2010

11/7/10 Turn Back the Clock 10K

First time running 10Ks on consecutive days. I'll give it my best and be happy with whatever happens. This is a quality event, very well organized at a great price with a no T-shirt option. Some overlap of this course with the Puddle Jump on the Chehalis Western Trail. Same course as the Race Against Crime, where I ran a 35:58 a few months ago. Too bad I ran hard yesterday.
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

11/6/10 Puddle Jump 10K

Attempting my first 10K double this weekend. Logistically easy with Saturday and Sunday races in Lacey, close to home. I was even able to pick up my packet for both races on Friday. The Puddle Jump is a first time event sponsored by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and Work Well, the "healthy workplace program". The 5K and 10K races start and finish at the Horizons Elementary school and follow the same course as the Run for Luck. Flat and fast on the Chehalis Western (paved) Trail.
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

Got here just in time to watch the Navigator Girls and Boys win their meets. Course is looking wet and muddy. Someone tells me that I should put on my extra long spikes. Too bad I have never tried spikes. I'll be fine in my Brooks Adrenaline GTS, the shoe that I do almost all of my training and racing in. My fairly new pair is going to get awful muddy though. There have been six different races on this course today, with hundreds of runners, finally I get to run in the open race. Thanks to Club Oly for sponsoring and organizing this event and for keeping the cost so low. Very light rain, cool but nice for running.

Start - Twenty four of us line up at the edge of a big field. More than half are High Schoolers who could not compete in the meet today for one reason or another. Most of the rest are Club Oly types, some of them I know to be much faster than me. Bill gives us the countdown and we are off. I am at full on sprint after a good warm up, but most of the runners are quickly pulling ahead of me. A large pack is already out of reach and we are just at the end of the field. Now we have to narrow down some and watch for turns and mud.

Mile 1- I have passed one kid and I am gaining on Rachel. I was amazed at how fast she went out and I slowly reel her in. Steep muddy uphill, little out and back section. Pass Rachel and there is no one directly ahead. Out to a loop that is new to the course this year. I had assumed that it just goes around a little area, but it is longer than I expected and has a steep and muddy uphill.

Mile 2- Completed one loop, now we repeat most of the course again, minus that big hill thankfully. No one close in front or directly behind me. Running as hard as I can, while still being careful to not slip in the mud or hit a bad bump.

Mile 3 - I feel pretty good and could keep going on for a while like this, but the end is near. Crank it up for the sprint to the finish. Cross the line. My tag is pulled and I am offered a bunch of Halloween candy. Nice little race. Got my speed work in for the week and I look forward to the next race in the series.


18th of 24


Saturday, October 23, 2010

10-23-10 Sammamish Trail Marathon

Inaugural race and I have never run here before. I arrive at Marymoor Park in plenty of time. It is still dark and although the sign for the race seems to be pointing towards another parking lot, I can see runners parking and getting ready off to the right. I pull in to a spot and can see a small registration area. People seem to be in a hurry and ready to run, yet I know I have ninety minutes to the start. Then I realize that the check in table says "Team in Training" and that this is a training run for that group. So back in the car and drive to the far parking lot where the race is happening for real.

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

10-16-10 Defiance 50K

Point Defiance Park at the northern tip of Tacoma is a gem of a park. Miles of waterfront, and many acres of forest, with some trees that are hundreds of years old. There is a one way paved road that loops around the park. This "Five Mile Drive" is also most of the Sound to Narrows 12K course and part of the Tacoma Marathon. In addition there are miles of trails that criss cross the whole park and I have not run on them much. Today I will.

The course for this inaugural race is three loops of about 10.37 miles. Starting at Owens Beach, at sea level, we will run 3/4 of a mile on flat crushed gravel or pavement along the water on what I call the "promenade". Then we will climb a trail with wooden steps, more of a staircase than trail, up steeply to near the Five Mile Drive. More trail climbing, then lots of single track and some double track trail all around the park. There will be pink ribbons to mark the way as well as chalk arrows on the ground. So many turns and intersections, I hope it will be well marked. At mile 4 we will run along the edge of the cliff with water views. Mile 5 takes us past the replica of Fort Nisqually. Aid station here, then lots more trail of all kinds. Through the "Ewok" forest, a number of small log jumps, and up a steeper hill. Finally some nice smooth flat and gentle downhill for a long way. Then onto the paved road for a quarter mile or so and then a sharp turn and a scramble down the cliff side to the beach. This last bit of trail is so steep that they have placed a rope to hold on to as you negotiate the trail. Back to the promenade for a short sprint to the finish...or lap two......or lap three. Elevation gain and loss of about 1,300 feet per loop.

For our troubles we get a nice running vest and a big finishers mug. Its cold out and the sun is just rising, so I have my jacket, hat and gloves on. Parking is right at the finish area, so I can grab or drop stuff as needed after each loop. There is also a 15K and 30K and many participants. The shorter race runners should be able to run more quickly so I line up way in the back with M761.

Start - Off we go on the wide promenade. Nice and easy. First bottleneck is on the stairs. Have to walk up. Those doing the 50K wonder how tough these stairs will be on the third lap. Now it really skinnys down to a trail and we are often stuck behind slow runners. Already I have a pebble working its way down my heel and into my shoe and I have to pull over to deal with it. Somehow it slips in under my foot. It feels OK there so I just leave it, hoping that I will not have to take my shoes off later. Tempting to try to pass people and find some room to run, but I need to be patient and use their pace to keep me from going out too fast. When the trail widens, there is
a sorting of position and we can get past the really slow ones. Beautiful day for a trail run, dry, little mud. But this is more like a stampede, just too crowded. I don't let it bother me though, there will be plenty of alone time after the shorter races are done and runners get real spread out.

Mile 4 - On the edge of a steep drop off. At least ten people directly in front of me. I hear one person shout, and another really yell. I think some one must have fallen, but we soon realize that we are in a swarm of bees.
Runner in front of me is stung and slows down. I tell him to keep moving fast, we need to get out of there!! Many runners are stung, somehow I get lucky. By my third loop, volunteer Tony S. will have taken care of the nest that was in an old stump and marked the spot with ribbon, getting stung multiple times in the process. Thanks Tony!!

Mile 5-10 - I barely slow down at the aid station. The rest of lap one is uneventful. Still lots of runners. The roped trail down the cliff is an adventure. Grab a couple of pretzels at the start/finish area and make a quick bathroom break. I think that M761 has gone ahead of me, so I run faster to catch up, but she was actually behind me and she catches me. We continue on together, with much more room to run.

Loop 2- The uphills are getting harder. I'm OK till about mile 16. Then it really hits me. I have some stomach cramping, not too bad, but enough to slow me down. The steep uphill in the Ewok forest finishes me off. M 761 continues on ahead. I need to walk any uphills and I start taking walk breaks on some flat trail too. This is about where I hit the wall in my last marathon and it is disappointing. I knew that I would tire at some point today and I told myself that I would continue to work hard at that point for 30 minutes or so, then just relax and enjoy the day. So I keep pushing but it is tough! I am getting passed by runners, my legs are tired on any hills and I am barely half way done. Lots of walk breaks and I am finally at the cliff near the end of the loop. Help a runner who has taken a wrong turn, then I lead him a few steps down the wrong way before we realize the mistake. Back track and get on course. Then down the rope and to the finish area. I see Ron Frederick who had finished the 30K race. I sort of shake my head at him and say something about this third lap is going to be really bad.

Loop 3 - Flat section is fine, then up those awful steps. I almost have to take a rest break. It is tough going. I meet Maniac Thomas Tan. We have been leapfrogging some and will continue to do so for the whole rest of the race. The uphill trail is real tough. At about mile 23 I turn my ankle and almost fall, but recover OK and there is no pain. Finally on more level trail and something amazing happens. I find this low gear of running. Its not a shuffle, I am moving along, just slowly. Well much faster than walking, a nice steady slow pace that feels really good. I note that I have been racing for 3 hours and 53 minutes. I tell myself that if I can continue with this pace until I hit 4:00 hours, then I will be happy and I'll reward myself with a walk break. The next time I look at my watch it is at 4:07 and I still do not need to slow down. For the rest of loop three I am able to run with a renewed level of energy. Sure I walk up the steep bits and when I am running it is not fast,but I feel good and now I am passing people. Thomas is able to run faster than me, but he keeps taking walk breaks so it all evens out. I am really surprised at how good I feel. I do not know if I have ever gotten into a groove like this after being so exhausted earlier on. I have two ideas on what is happening, the reader can pick which they like or suggest something else. One thought is that although my stores of carbohydrate energy are low/gone, I am now effectively tapping my fat reserves. I have been training my body to do this for some time and it is great to see it paying off. The other idea is something about moonbeams infusing the forest floor with energy that can be transferred to fungi and to those on the trails who can access the hidden power. It sure seems that the longer I run and especially now that I am mostly alone, the stronger I feel. All I need to do is be careful to not fall or take a wrong turn and this will end up being a pretty good race. Ginger Gruber passes me at the aid station. She has been holding back and will run another marathon tomorrow.

Mile 29 to 31 - Sharp turn and I see a little uphill. I have been running with no breaks for so long, this would be a good place to walk a bit and gather some energy. I also know now that I will have no trouble beating my hoped for time of 6 hours. But I do not slow. I don't feel like it. I love to run and I would just rather be running than walking right now. I think that I have hit a point of transcendence. It is somewhat emotional, after so many tough races lately. This is pure pleasure and I feel like I could just keep on going forever. Soon enough I get to the road and I fly down to the turn, knowing that I will have to go slow to pick my way down the cliff. Thomas is behind me and I offer him to pass just before the rope as I have no intention of going fast and falling here and I don't want to slow him down. I know that I could run fast at the bottom and maybe sprint past him at the finish. He will not take the lead however, also wanting to go carefully at this point. So down the rope I go and onto the wide trail to the finish. Very happy and strong, with no aches or pains. M761 is there, she beat me by 20 minutes, and we both feel like we could go and do another loop. After that rough patch in the middle for me, I am so pleased with how this turned out. My finish time is not near a PR, but this was the toughest trail course I have done and my finish place suggests that I did run well today. Quick dip of the legs in the cold waters of Puget sound and I think that I shall recover well from the race.

33rd place of 97
race # 212, marathon or ultra #54, 50K #5

Saturday, October 2, 2010

10-2-10 Shuck and Run 5K

Shelton WA. Oysterfest weekend. 5K race start and finish at the High School. Race will be on open roads with good wide shoulders and little traffic. One long block we will go around. $15 day of race entrance fee. After a tough marathon six days ago and a not very good recovery week, I have serious doubts about how today will go. No pains or injuries, just have felt tired while running this week. Almost opted out for today but now that I am here I am glad that I did show up. Mile and a half warm up and I actually feel really good. A few more strides while waiting for the start. Nice cloudy weather.
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

9-26-10 Bellingham Bay Marathon

This is my favorite Marathon. All I expect from a race is accurate distance and timing. This has that for sure. When you add the scenic but very runnable course, the excellent organization and the enthusiastic volunteers, it just does not get any better than this. The size of the event is my favorite too. Large enough to feel like a real event, but small enough to not be lost in the crowd. Since running the inaugural race in 2007 (my Marathon Maniac qualifying event) I have come back each year. Some people grumble about the course changes every year, but the courses do seem to get better each time. This year has a major change, it is now point to point. We will not have to run the super steep California Street hill or the other hill on the trail. Less trail, but still 4 miles or so of nicely packed trail. No major hills.

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

9-12-10 Skagit Flats Half Marathon

I feel just a little guilty running the half here, since I have run the full 26.2 each of the last three years and there will be many Marathon Maniacs who will assume that I am running the longer race. But a half today fits in better with my training plans, hoping to taper a bit and have a strong race in Bellingham in two weeks. Also the previous three years at Skagit have had hot and miserable melt downs in the final miles. No shade, high temps and a grind of a course. So I will run the half today and be all done before the blazing sun gets too high. Ha!! Here I am and it is raining. Off and on showers. Everyone is talking about what to wear. I opt for a light jacket and hat, both of which will come off after a few miles I am sure.

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.

67th place of 421 runners and walkers
race# 209

Saturday, September 4, 2010

9/4/10 Over The Narrows 10 Miler

Since my first 10 mile race in 1997, this distance has been something of a bad luck curse for me. On a good day, with a reasonable level of fitness I should be able to beat my time of 1:16:20. In my seven attempts to best that time I have had no success. Icy conditions, tired legs, recovering from injury and my severe dizzy dizzy spell have occurred during the ensuing ten milers. Hard to predict a finish time for today's race. This is an inaugural event although I have run across the bridge for the Narrows Half, I have never run it as an out and back. The start and finish in Gig Harbor is a new location for me. I know that there will be some hills. I also know that I have somewhat tired legs from last week's marathon.
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

8/28/10 Redmond Watershed Preserve Trail Marathon

Three goals for today. 1) Do not fall 2) Beat my previous times here hopefully finishing under 4:30 3) Keep running as best I can, push hard, after "hitting the wall" so as to get in a good long run training run. I am hoping that the added mileage of this month and the two long runs will serve as good training for the Bellingham Bay Marathon in September. After this race I plan to taper down the mileage some and hopefully have a faster time at the end of September.
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.

16th of 47
Marathon or Ultra #52, Redmond Watershed Preserve #3

Saturday, August 21, 2010

8/21/10 Habitat for Humanity 8K - Chehalis WA

After entering my race data from the ultra last week onto the Brooks Running website, I saw that I had moved up ten places in the 2010 race series. I now stand at 79th place of 850. I had planned to try to grind out weekly mileage record (65 miles) for marathon training purposes, but now I'd like to race a short one just to see if I can move up some more in the standings. Points are awarded for speed and just for attending, so my 25 races so far this year has me even with some super fast runners who do not compete so often.

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
Race #206

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Transcendence Ultra 12 Hour Endurance Run - Olympia

I've done a handful of 50K races (31.1 miles) but the next common ultra marathon distance is 50 miles and that seems like a big leap. This race is a 12 hour event so I should have time to cover 50 miles if I really want to, but I at least should be able to run something farther than a 50K. My longest distance run so far was at the 6 hour race in March where I ran 32.9 miles. This inaugural event, put on by Guerrilla Running sold out before race day with 50 athletes competing. Lots of Maniac family are here.

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.

33.5 miles

6 hours 23 minutes

36th of 46 participants
Race #205
25th race of 2010
First 12 hour event