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.


31st of 69


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