Northwest Trail Runs organization puts on a couple of races around Seattle each year. I did the marathon in Redmond last August. Apparently the venue for their usual March event was not available so they hosted today's event back at the Watershed Preserve in Redmond. It was nice and no stress to come back to this low key event I had run before. Race does not start till 9:30AM unfortunately I had to drop some family at the airport at 5AM. Woke at 3:40AM, made the drive to the airport, then continued on, arriving at the park at 5:30. Managed to sleep a little in the car. It had been raining, but by 9AM it was just cloudy. This course is fairly confusing, last year I let the pack take me on a wrong turn that added a half mile to the race. This time as I listen to the prerace briefing I am confident that I will remember the course and make all of the correct turns. I also will not have to worry about bees, this early in the season, after getting stung here last Summer. In fact as I stand around with fellow Marathon Maniacs I feel very relaxed. I'd like to beat last year's time, but my main goal is just to get in a good long fun workout on the trails. There is also a 5 and 10 mile race and they will start a few minutes after us. Large turn out, in fact the race was sold out, good thing I preregistered some time ago.
Last year I ran the three loops in 1:26, 1:24 and 1:45 having an epic meltdown on the last go around. I ran out of fluids on that hot day. Today I have sent a bottle to the "drop area" where it will be available to me twice on each loop. There is a minor change to the course with the first loop being about a half mile longer than usual. This will allow a later part of the course to not go quite so far and cross a road. The section that was removed was totally flat, the added part has a hill, but there are so many little hills its not going to make much of a difference. I like that the later loops will be just a little shorter.
Loop 1 1:31
Start - Wearing my rain jacket. I fully expect it to start pouring at any moment. The start is a narrow trail and it is tough to pass or be passed, however I have apparently positioned myself well. Things will sort out eventually anyway. After a mile or so I find myself near the back of a large pack. M27 is leading the way, although I know that there are faster runners ahead. I meet M1095 who I had known of and we have pleasant conversation for most of the loop. No rain and I am warm so I ditch my jacket at the bag drop area. Around mile 4 I feel like I should be going a little faster. I'd like to get ahead of this pack but am really boxed in. The 5 and 10 mile runners keep coming at us too, I decide to just stay put for now. The whole herd of about ten of us charge on to the finish area.
Loop 2 1:27
I take a very fast break here, make sure the race director sees my number, I fill up my fluids and head back out. Others are lingering so our big pack has disintegrated. After the short out and back section, there is a very nice mostly downhill trail for over a mile. I am comfortably running quicker than I had been. No one else around except M27 just a little ahead of me. Plus random runners approaching from the opposite direction occasionally. Much quieter now in the forest. M1095 catches and passes me. She ran the Yakima Marathon yesterday!! M27 stops for a break and I have to pass her. I know full well that she will catch me sooner or later. Before the second loop is over she is back in front of me for good. She ran 102 miles just seven days ago!!
Horse and rider on the trail. We are going in the same direction but the horse is going very slowly. They have the right of way and I do not want to pass by them without the rider's permission. Great excuse for a walk break. Kinda cool that I am running faster than a horse too. She does encourage me to pass and I do so. Starting to tire and taking some walk breaks on the uphills. Sun is out, then a brief sprinkle, but my feet are dry and the mud is not bad.
At the end of the loop there is a small crowd at the finish area. I raise my arms and yell out "done" so they will think I have completed the race. Some start cheering, but I quickly finish my sentence "....with the second lap". People laugh and I grab some food and drink and set out for one more loop.
Loop 3 1:40
Really tired now. Lots of walk breaks. Doing about 12 minutes/mile. M1078 catches me. I knew that he was not far back and had been expecting him to get to me soon. We run together for about a half mile and it is really nice. He ran the Yakima Marathon yesterday!! I think that my fatigue is at least partially mental, I am running fine with M1078. Whenever there is another runner around I seem to be able to move along, but all by myself I lose any drive and just shuffle and walk some. No pains just fatigue. Doing the "second loop of the third loop" I see two runners who are about 3 miles behind me, M1077 and M 748 who both ran Yakima yesterday!! I pick up my jacket and down the last of my fluids. I have given up on beating my time from last August but I should still be close. Get really close to two black-tailed deer as I jog in the last bit. Cross the finish and call it a day. Great soup and other foods at the finish area. I stay for a little while. When I do finally get in my car it immediately starts raining.
23rd of 41
Race#191, Marathon or ultra #45, Redmond Watershed Preserve Marathon #2