Sunday, May 16, 2010

5/16/10 Capital City Marathon

My hometown race is still one of my favorites. Organizers do a terrific job and I get to run with Maniac friends, local Olympia running friends, and I always know many of the spectators and volunteers. No shirt or medal, but we get a nice hooded jacket, luggage tag and a commemorative coaster. Living so close I can almost sleep in and make it to the 7AM start. I know where to park and it is a stress free time getting in place to run. It has been warm, but is cloudy now and won't get as hot as previous years, though a little warm for optimal running. I do not have to decide what to wear as I am sure I will be fine with just a tank top and there is no chance of rain.

It has been two weeks since the Tacoma Marathon and I am not quite fully recovered. One week ago we went to California and I spent three long days at amusement parks. I wore the GPS on two days and know that I walked over 12 miles each of those days. Add the time on feet waiting on lines and I do know that my feet ached each evening. After 4 days of no running, but lots of walking, and too much fast food, I went for a 4 mile run on Thursday. It was horrible. I felt so tired and off, it was a real struggle. Ran three miles on Friday and it was a little better but still an effort. Also feeling some cold symptoms, a little sore throat and general weakness at times. So I took Saturday off and here I am Sunday contemplating a PR attempt. Recently I have seen people run some very fast races somewhat unexpectedly. I am thinking that I will not know if it is my day unless I try. Probably best to wait till the next race and play this one safer, but I feel OK this morning. I'll start off with M761 which will be at my PR pace, and if I feel lousy after a couple of miles I'll drop back to a slower pace.

Start - I find lots of friends and eventually M761 just before the start. With the half marathon starting a little later and having a sold out event, there is a large crowd of spectators to see us off. We are positioned well and it is a smooth send off.

Mile 7 - I don't feel horrible but I don't feel great either. Just running along at a steady pace. Plenty of space on the scenic country roads. We run a bit with Arthur from the UK who ran the Windemere/Spokane Marathon yesterday.

Mile 14 - Not much to write about. Beautiful day. Flowers in bloom. Can't decide if this course is hillier than Tacoma, they both sure have some ups and downs. Letting M761 set the pace, I'm not really focused on the watch, but I do realize that we on my PR pace. As much as I do not need/want an entourage of support staff to run/bike with me and cheer for me, its good to be with one or two other people side by side and not all alone.

Mile 17 - Mild stomach issues. I think it is the Ultima drink and perhaps I am downing more fluids than I can handle. Its warm and I start pouring a little water on my head at each aid station. The stations are two miles apart and I begin to look forward to each one more and more.

Mile 2o - More stomach issues and now plain old tiredness. The pace has slowed, what with walking through the aid stations and I will not get that PR. Still moving OK and it could be a good run after all.

Mile 22 - Liked the big downhill, but now I face the dreaded Eastside Hill. It starts with just a little bump, but that is hard enough. M761 continues at an even pace while I really start to falter. Now come the walk breaks.

Mile 23 - Still moving uphill. I am passing lots of half marathon walkers so it is not as evident that I am being passed by marathoners. Everyone is slow going up this hill.

Mile 23.5 - Same little girl at the same place as last year with her tiny cups of cold water. I tell her thank you and that I remember her from last year. Hook up with two runners that I had passed some miles ago. We get a little conversation going and it helps me stay with them.

Mile 24 - Sudden severe muscle cramp in my right groin area catches me in mid stride. It goes away as I walk but it will happen two more times while running and each time give me a great excuse to walk a bit. Run/walk/shuffle on.

Mile 25 - I had been very confident of beating 4 hours and am still sure that I will make it, however the closer I get to the finish, the more I realize that I need to keep moving to even make that goal.

Mile 25.5 - Love the view down Capital Blvd as I see the finish and a good crowd cheering. Get in just under 4 hours and am satisfied that I "went for it" but just did not have the right stuff today. I slowed so much after mile 22 that M761 beat me by seven minutes.

Finish - Find Jody, who did well in the half, and then stay for a long while cheering in the rest of the finishers. Thanks to David Gardner for taking the photos. And happy that Deb Gardner did not catch up and tap me on the shoulder like I deserved, it sure was close though. Next race should be the North Olympic Discovery Marathon on June 6.

Race #195
Marathon or Ultra #48
Capital City Marathon#7 (sixth consecutive)
Capital City race (full, half or five miler) # 10

Sunday, May 2, 2010

5/2/10 Tacoma City Marathon

My third consecutive year here. Previous two finish times were both 3:58. I have not run a sub 4 hour marathon since last October due to the three 50Ks, 6 hour run, trail marathon and being sick at the Lost Dutchman Marathon. So today I will be happy to get anything under 4 hours. It would be extra nice to run under 3:58 for a new best time on this course. I'll try to go faster at future marathons but for today my time goal is 3:57.

I arrive plenty early and find my same parking spot. Enjoy seeing lots of Maniac friends. Marathon Maniac Club reunion race and there are a whole lot of yellow shirts all around. Its cool and cloudy and windy. I had planned to leave my long sleeve shirt behind at the start but it is so chilly that I decide to keep it on for the run. I often do this and just tie it around my waist when I warm up.

Start - M761 and I line up with M61 the 3:50 pacer. I know I wrote that I was hoping for 3:57 but I would like to run a few miles with my friend and then drop back early, before I get tired. I feel good and relaxed and the start goes off with no issues.

Mile 1 - The long straight on Market Street. Head wind is really strong. Eventually we make the sharp turn and run with the wind. We comment on the fact that we really can not feel it at our backs however. It often seems that way, strong in the face, then calm when you turn around. It must be helping though, or else I am just warming up as the running gets a little easier.

Mile 3 to 6 - Through the park, past the High School and down towards Ruston Way. Time to say goodbye to M761. This is nicer than the times that we run together till mile 17 and then she trots on while I suffer and flounder. I ease back gradually planning to run now with the 4 hour pace team (M1681 and M171). M985 catches up to me and we run together for a bit.

Mile 8 - Quick Port-a-Potty stop. I am really fast in there but as I exit I see that the 4 hour group has passed by and I have to hurry up to get even with them. Soon enough I am in the pack and on cruise control.

Mile 10.5 - That hill after the tunnel is super steep.

Mile 11 - Pace groups are great, but I don't like being packed in so tightly. I ease ahead some, just to have a good clear space in front of me. Tacoma could do well to pave some of these roads, but I have not tripped or seen anyone fall yet. Better to have a good line of sight though.

Mile 12 - That long long hill in Point Defiance Park. Something of a grind, but I am holding a steady pace. I'm not checking behind me but I think that I have increased the distance on the 4 hour group. I had planned to stay with them till mile 20 or so, but it looks like I have struck out on my own now. Running with a couple of first timers and we don't talk much but it is nice to be in step with them, yet have plenty of running room.

Mile 13.1 - Clock reads 1:57 and something. I'll have to run the second half in 2:00 to get my 3:57 finish.

Mile 15.5 - Out of the park and into the wind. Down the big hill, up the big hill, turn left then turn right onto Vassault Street. Major hill for the next mile and a half. The hill itself is bad enough but the wind is really blowing right at us. I still feel good but I know that this is zapping my energy. My legs have felt a little fatigued since early in the race (perhaps due to yesterday's race) but they have been able to hold the pace well. It is the energy level that I am worried about. My overall pace has dropped some on this long incline with wind, but as long as I don't really tire soon, I am in good condition.

Mile 18 - Highest elevation of the course. Oh I remember being here last year, ahead of my current pace, but really tiring quickly. Today I feel OK. I have also been able to choke down some gels, I have had three already, and my stomach is tolerating that and all the fluids.

Mile 19 - Finally the turn onto the paved trail that parallels Route 16. My least favorite part of the course, but now I have that strong wind at my back. It is so strong that I can feel it pushing me along.

Mile 20 - Under a bridge, then a turn and now the wind seems to be in my face again. I was not expecting that. Maybe it is more blowing sideways, but I was hoping for a push all the way to mile 24.

Mile 21 - I can see the Target store more than half a mile ahead. I try to relax and focus on the bulls eye and flow along at least till I get there. I can not zone out completely, but I am still running and I am pleased that I have made it this far without "hitting the wall"

Mile 22 - Run for a bit with M1106. This is a great place to have a little company and keep moving. I hit the lap button on my watch to set a new overall pace. I can run 10/mile from here to the end and still beat 4 hours and I am thinking that I should be able to do it, especially with the wonderful downhills to come.

Mile 23.3 - Almost off the trail and I take my first little walk break. I also take my long sleeves off for the first time.

Mile 24.2 - One more really short walk break as my pace the last two miles was about 9:45 (after the break). I expect to turn down the hill and not walk anymore.

Mile 24.5- The hard part is over. Long downhill, a little steep for tired legs, then flat and gradual downhill till the race is almost over and the excitement of the finish can carry anyone through. I feel very confident that I will beat 4 hours. Can I get in under 3:58? It is too close to call at this point.

Mile 25 - 3:48 on my watch. Better keep moving. Really pleased with today's run. I think those ultras this Winter paid off with better endurance. Can't say why I did not have my usual nausea but I'll take it for sure.

Mile 26 - Hey I will beat 3:58. Terrific. No need to sprint to the finish, I just cruise along like I have been and at the finish I feel like I could keep going for a few more miles. Very rare that I have finished a marathon feeling so good.


139th place of 391

Marathon or ultra #47, 3rd consecutive Tacoma City Marathon

Race # 194

Saturday, May 1, 2010

5/1/10 Public Agency Challenge 2 Miles

Quick in and out run today. Need to leave right after the race so I'll miss any raffles. Feeling really good. Ready to run Tacoma Marathon tomorrow. I'll do a short warm up to keep the mileage low. Its cloudy with some wind. Cool and decent running weather. New start closer to the Capitol. We will go slightly downhill for a tenth of a mile, then make a sharp right turn and head uphill to the turn around. Lots of children running and many casual runners. Most of the faster runners do the 8K race. I'm glad that Bill chose the 8K because I am pretty sure that he would beat me if we raced together.

Start - Line up near the front. Still there are some small kids directly in front of me. Off we go and everyone goes flying out too fast. At the turn, looking uphill I can see that there are many people ahead of me, despite the fact that I am on 6:38/mile pace according to the GPS.

Mile 0.5 - One by one I am picking off the kids in their high top basketball shoes.

Mile 1 - Nice to get to the turn around and know that it is all downhill.

Mile 1.7 - No one has passed me and I continue to pass some people. I catch up to a guy who looks about my age. Every time I have run this race I have gotten an age group award, but seeing the runners ahead of me, coming toward me before the turn around, most of them looked like they could be in my age group. I ask the guy how old he is and yes he is in my age group. I make a move and pull ahead of him, but very quickly he matches it and blows past me on the final shot to the finish. When I realize that I will not be able to catch him, I ease back also remembering that I have a marathon tomorrow. My last 50 yards is lame, but I am really happy to get in under 14 minutes and do way better than last year. Legs feel good and strong.

Mile 2.0 - I congratulate the guy who beat me, then take a look at the board where they are taping finishers bib tags so I can see how I placed. 14th overall is really good, but I will have to settle for 4th in my age group. That has me a little discouraged but I get over it quickly and enjoy watching others finish, before I have to leave.

14th of 83