Sunday, February 28, 2010

2/28/10 ROAD-odend-RUN 6 mile relay

3rd annual race, but my first time here. I thought about running the 6 miles by myself which is a valid option, but Bill Herzog was looking for a relay partner and it is billed as a relay race. So I will run the first and third leg of 1.5 miles each and cheer Bill on during his parts. We will be very happy to be around 7 minute miles. Looking forward to a good hard short speed workout. I ran 10 miles yesterday and it is not like we are in contention for winning, so I'll just do what I can and hope to have a fun time. Great to see the regular racers and a large crowd. Lots of kids too. Race director Jesse Stevick (Capitol City Marathon winner) has things organized well and at a terrific price for this fundraiser for youth running activities. Pre registered runners get a T-shirt and each relay team gets a "commemorative keepsake relay slap bracelet". Unfortunately the bridge on the south side of Capitol Lake is closed during construction so we are not able to run the loop around the lake. Instead we will run around Heritage park and make something of a loop. The sun is out and it is a perfect temperature for running.


Leg 1 - Marci Martin and I are packed in closely with lots of runners. Then we are let loose with a bugle blast to start us off. I am boxed in somewhat, but try to stay calm and not make any crazy moves. Soon I get my chance to find my own pace and things thin out somewhat. Running on crushed gravel. The kids 1.5 mile race started with us about 3 tenths of a mile into it, some of them are walking and/or looking back with fear. Sharp turn with railroad tracks to consider at .4 miles. Then a nice "long" straight section of pavement. I catch, then run along side a woman, but no words are exchanged. I have found a nice pace. Soon I move ahead of her, and then have to make multiple turns on the sidewalk, dodge some landscape equipment and follow the blue marks on the ground to stay on the right path. 6:56 first mile. Two little kids in front of me, I am very impressed with the way they look. One girl is right in front of me as we make the last sharp turn back to the gravel. She grabs the fence post and swings herself around the turn most gracefully. I don't dare try. But I am able to turn it on and pass her. Scanning for Bill as I approach the finish. There he is, we make a good exchange and I am done....for a few minutes anyway. 10:19 or 6:53 pace.


Leg 2 - Gasping for air, but happy with my run I stagger around a bit. Not looking forward to the next leg but I have ten minutes or so to get back in control. I walk over to the far side of the loop and cheer on runners. Here comes Bill and I tell him to slow down so I have more time to rest. But he keeps plowing along and I need to get back to the exchange area.


Leg 3 - Runners are so spread out now and the exchange will be easy as I see Bill approaching with no one directly in front of him. I get the baton and head right out at too fast a pace. Legs feel a little jelly like and I see that I am at 6:05/mile pace, so I ease up a bit searching for a more reasonable tempo. The second time around is uneventful. No one close enough to chase down. My pace slows to 7:08/mile. The really fast guys are about to lap me but I am able to hand off to Bill before that happens.

Leg 4 - Recover, then watch the runners and wait for Bill. He comes in at the same pace as his first lap and we are both happy with our efforts. I really enjoyed seeing all the kids and adults of various abilities. Lots of families running together or as relay teams. Great community event that goes on my growing list of must do again races.




42:29

27th place of 102, 12th of 23 in the male/male relay division
187th race

****

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2/14/10 Lost Dutchman Marathon

In October of last year I almost ran the Portland Marathon. I had the flu, but felt Ok that morning. I lined up at the start but with a minute to go, I got light headed and weak and decided to sit on the curb and watch 9,000 people run past me. The next week I was fine and while racing I met Maniac Mellisa from Arizona. I've never been to Arizona and she suggested the Lost Dutchman Marathon as the race that I would most enjoy. I made the plans and Jody and I looked forward to a Valentine's weekend getaway. My struggles with nagging mild injuries affected my training and I do not expect to run well, but I'll have fun at least.

Except that now I am sick again. No fever, but a sinus infection for sure. I have not slept well in three days and my appetite is reduced. We go for a day trip on the day before the race and I alternate between feeling OK and feeling weak and tired. Not sure if I should run at all.


4:30AM - wake up. Am I sick or just tired? There is often some pre-race jitters that can sort of make my head feel funny. It is tough to evaluate, but I know that I feel better than at Portland.


5:15AM - get on the bus. We are staying at the host hotel and the bus picks us up to take us to the start line. The hotel is on mile 8 of the course. I figure that if I do start feeling lousy I should be able get a ride back to the room. I decide to carry my cell phone just in case.


6AM - we arrive at the start line up a long dirt road, at a camping area. There are numerous small fires going to keep people warm. It looks really cool, but also smokey and I decide to stay warm in a bus that is here just for that purpose. This is a really well organized race with some thoughtful touches added. They treat the runners well here.


7AM - Sun is rising and it is time to run. As I walk toward the middle of the start area I pass by and get to say hello to four fellow northwest runners. Three of them ran a 31 mile trail race yesterday. I find as good a place as any to start and off we go.


Mile 1 - 9:00 and feeling good. Its crowded on the dirt road but will think out soon enough. I am in no hurry.


Mile 5 - Still on the downhill section and dirt road. I passed the most scenically located port-a-potty I have ever seen. Beautiful desert country. My overall pace is 8:48 and I feel terrific. I am so glad that my head cold is not affecting my running. I know that I am going faster than I should and that I will pay for it later, but I'll deal with than then.


Mile 7 - Now on the pavement. We are on a major highway but we have the shoulder and an entire lane to use. Running with some Maniacs from Minnesota. Pleasant time. Overall pace at 8:40. Hey that is my PR pace. I did have a very good long run at the Pigtails 50K three weeks ago and although that is done at a much slower pace, perhaps I will have good endurance and be able to keep this up. I will not let myself go any faster than this though.


Mile 8 - Running past my hotel, so happy that I feel good. Run with a first timer who hopes to break 4 hours. We are well ahead of that time and he goes on ahead of me. I pass a 14 year old with his mother. He ran the race last year and this year he is wearing Vibrams.


Mile 12 - Long uphill. Sun getting warm. I see a young woman sitting on the curb. She was a runner who must have had a nasty fall. Lots of blood and scrapes on her face, hands and knees. I stop to see if I can do anything. She says that a person on a bike had gone to the next aid station to get help and that she was OK. Other than serious scrapes she looked OK, so I continued on and was happy to see an ambulance arrive right away.


Mile 13.1 - Halfway there and at about 8:45 pace. Long downhill now. I take advantage of the hill and speed up some. Back to the highway for a short bit, then onto roads heading toward the finish line.


Mile 17 - Getting warmer and starting to tire. I shift to a lower gear and continue on.


Mile 18 - The wall. Surprised at how hard it hits. Usually I can trudge along at a slower pace for quite some miles, but this is early and really tough. I need to walk a bit.


Mile 19 - I am toasted. Out of energy. I am running with a guy who is doing his 196th marathon and I ask his advice, already knowing what he will say and what I will do. Should I grind it out, push as hard as I can and still maybe beat 4 hours, or just walk and shuffle it in, relaxing and enjoying the last hour as best I can? Of course I choose the latter. I am going to finish, I never expected to have a good race today anyway. I'm not going to enjoy having so many people pass me, but I can choose what attitude to have and today I choose to smile.


Mile 20 - Out and back section. I see Maniac Robert, then Maniac Mellisa both of whom ran the 31 miles yesterday. I yell to them that they will soon be passing me.


Mile 21 - Long uphill. I can't go more than half a mile without taking a long walk break.


Mile 22 - Leapfrogging with another tired soul.


Mile 23 - Robert passes me. Good for him.


Mile 24 - Big cardboard "wall" at the top of a hill. Just past it I see that first timer who had gotten far ahead of me. He is stopped and is stretching. I ask if he is OK and he says that he is cramping up and trying to stretch it out. I am also passing half marathon walkers so my own slow pace does not seem so bad.


Mile 25 - Another long straight sunny mile, this one uphill. Melissa finally catches me. I have absolutely no competitive spirit and I am happy that she is finishing in decent shape. After what seems like a super long last mile I make the turn toward the finish line. Jody is yelling for me and taking pictures. I am so out of energy I take a walk break with about a tenth of a mile to go, but soon get moving to the finish.


26.2 - Done. Beautiful course, great race but lousy run for me. I feel like a rookie going out too fast. It was hard to judge how much the head cold, then the heat would affect me and in the first half I started thinking that I would have a good run. It really blew up bad at mile 18 and there just was nothing I could do at that point. I'd like to come back and run this one again.


4:13:34

198th place of 471

186th race, 4oth marathon, 43rd marathon or ultra

****

video

Sunday, February 7, 2010

2/7/10 Geoduck Gallup 10K

The Evergreen State College mascott is the geoduck, our big native clam. This race has a larger half marathon and has been put on for a few years now, however there is a new race director this year. Jody thinks that she is ready to PR in the 10K so I will run with her and try to run even 8:54 per mile to get her that best yet time. We arrive in plenty of time to register and see some friends. More and more people arrive and the sign up line keeps growing. Soon we hear that the race will be delayed by thirty minutes because of the larger than expected turn out. It would be nice to have a warm building to wait in, but we are gathered at the soccer fields away from the campus buildings. It is cool and foggy, great running weather.

The course is a bit of a mystery. I have been studying the map for some time and can not quite figure out exactly where we are going, with small loops and big loops and a different course at times for the longer race. We are going to have to trust that it will be well marked.

Start - Finally we head out. Shannon runs with us. After the GPS bounces around some the pace settles in and we are at 8:53/mile for a long time.

Mile 2 - Shannon is feeling good so she takes off faster. Mile marker is a little off. The GPS is reading a shorter distance than the mile marker, so that means that 8:53 is actually a little faster, if in fact the markers are correct. Course has long gentle uphills and downhills. Jody is fairly quiet, I am pleased with our steady pace

Mile 4 - Now the mile markers are considerably off. We are holding 8:53 by the watch, so either way we are in good shape. Runners are spread out, miles go by uneventfully.....

Mile 4.2 - ....until we see a long steep downhill. Down into the ravine we go. We are on roads that are open to traffic. Though there are not many vehicles, a truck is coming up up towards us and we have to watch for cars. We pick up the pace some on the downhill, but now there is a major uphill. Jody slows significantly. I tell her to pump her arms, shorten her stride, lift her knees...anything to keep her moving. We crest the hill and then there is a little more uphill. I am dismayed to see the average pace hit 9:01. She needs to pick it up but I do not know how to get her moving faster.

Mile 4.5 - The course has been well marked for us, with volunteers at most turns. Later I would learn that some half marathoners added a mile and a half to their route by missing a turn. Jody and I make the correct turn onto a paved path and continue on a flat route. I urge her to go more quickly but we only get the pace down to 9:00. I miss the marker for mile 5. After a while it looks like we are nearing the campus again. Even though I drive around on these roads from time to time, I am completely lost at this point. After a slight downhill and a turn I can see a parking area and what I think is the finish line. We are four minutes under her PR time, I know that we can reach that group of people, I just am not sure if that really is the finish. Yes it is!! I can relax. Jody can relax. She will cruise in to a two minute PR.

Finish - We cross the line together and she is thrilled with her time. GPS reads 5.96 and I am convinced that the course is short, but she still had a great run and would have set a best time even at the right distance. Accurate distance is my most important factor when judging a race. Not having a warm waiting area or enough restrooms and having to pay for food other than drinks after the race also take this race down a notch. Roads open to traffic and some folks taking wrong turns add more strikes. Funny that yesterday's race put on by a pre-school was better done that this race organized by a college. The published results have our times off and show Jody finishing 20 seconds ahead of me despite crossing the line together.


53:29

31st of 69

**

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2/6/10 Friendship Run 5K








Fundraiser for the Westside Cooperative Preschool. I ran the inaugural race here in 2004 and came back in 2006, but have not been here since. Amazed to see how this little race has grown. Who are all these people? Most of my Olympia friends are at the training run for the May marathon, so it is just me and a couple of regular racers, and a whole lot of people that I do not know. $20 day of race entry fee with the no T-shirt option.



















I am going to race again tomorrow and still getting over some nagging issues so I have vowed to take it real easy today. I'll start in the back and maybe put in a faster last mile if I feel like it. No concerns about finish time today, its just about enjoying the day and the event. Cool but no wind and blue skies. Great running weather.


















The course has changed considerably. Apparently they have been changing it every year. We will start behind the school, then turn left onto a hitherto unknown section of the Maclane trail. Paved curvy path up and down a bit. Then we will climb up and over Mud Bay Road, a course change that makes the route much safer. No road crossings, however a few more hills on this course. Onto the old course/trail, then turn onto a quiet street before rejoining the trail. Back over the bridge, then head back the short way to the school.















Start - I find myself in about the middle. Lots of kids running and lots of real little kids in strollers. Lots of walkers too. This is a great race to finish with a good relative placing with so many casual runners, compared to Steilacoom where I am usually last in my age group. Off we go right on time, a smooth start considering the pack of kids up front.

























Mile 0.5 - Picking my way through the crowd, but not in an anxious manner. Tough to pass on the narrow trail and it is slower going than I had intended. No worries, it will thin out soon enough.








Mile 1.5 - I have been going a little faster than I had planned and continue to pass people. Everything feels great and I pick up the pace even more.



















Mile 2.5 - Definitely way faster that I had planned, but still in control and not red-lining. This is a fun way to run a 5K. Pick off a couple more people then up the little hill to the finish. About a minute and a half slower than my last 5K, but a most enjoyable time.






















I grab my camera and jog around a bit to cool down and take some photos. So many runners still coming in. Later it is the awards ceremony where I am surprised to learn that I took second in my age group out of 14. The red ribbon is nice, but I am more pleased to win a $25 gift certificate to the local cinema. Great post race snacks, large indoor staging area, nice course. I hope to keep coming back to this one.






23:37



31st place of 296 runners and walkers



2nd of 14 in age group



race# 184, 5K#51, Friendship run#3



*****