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


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon 8/7/10

Missed this one last year and I am happy and excited to be back for this terrific event on a great course. I would very much like to beat my times from the two halfs I ran in July, keep an even pace, and have fun with the many people I know who are running today. Up at 4:15AM to meet a 5AM carpool. Thanks for driving, Paul. Great to have so many Oly runners here. Heavy fog that is borderline drizzle and some wind that will be mostly at our backs. Good for running, not so good for waiting for the start, but we are able to stay somewhat warm inside a hangar at the Gig Harbor Airport. Lots of Maniacs and Half Fanatics and I am wearing my new Half Fanatic hat.

Start - Bob Martin pacing 1:40, Prez Steve Yee pacing 1:50, Matt Hagen pacing 2:00. Who to run with? Ashley of course. We start just in front of Steve hoping to hold back some and finish strong. My PR is 1:40:23 but I do not believe that I can do that today. If all goes really well I'll try to catch up to Bob, but I am not going to push it early and risk falling apart before the finish. I will run my own race today, it just so happens that Ashley and I continue to be amazingly close in abilities and will probably run together for much of the race. She is stronger than me on the uphills and has better energy management after running low on fuels in the marathon (does not hit the wall as bad as I do), but I'd like to think that I have a faster kick and can hold my own with her on anything shorter than a marathon. If I can run a 1:43 I will be pleased, regardless of where anyone else finishes.

Mile 1-3 - Smooth start. I did a short half mile warm up and was ready to go off at race pace. Now we are on the Narrows Bridge. It reminds me of the time I ran the San Francisco Marathon over the Golden Gate Bridge. Fog, lots of fog. Temperature is good though and the wind is not strong.

Mile 3-4 - Up the big hill off the bridge and through the park. I remember to use my arms and shorten my stride. Pass Ron, who is still getting back to shape after injury but was very close behind me in a 5K not long ago. I could end up running close with him today. Boy that hill takes it out of me. Breathing is harder. We are passing some people.

Mile 4-6 - The loop through a neighborhood. Short uphill bits that get my breathing all out of whack. We lost time on the big uphill and it is rough going now, but we are holding steady. Sometimes Ashley is a half a step ahead of me. The GPS watch is great for providing info about pace, but having a person to stick with is so helpful. Without speaking we are able to communicate when we should make a move around someone. Working together without talking. Jennifer Seward sighting.

Mile 7-9 - Running well, but not sure that I am having a whole lot of fun. I have been working very hard since mile 3. I hope that I do not fade in the final miles. At the aid stations I tend to get a step or two ahead of Ashley but she catches right up. We run into Cheney Stadium and around the warning track. No Rhubarb to high five or hug. Working too hard to enjoy it much. But I am focusing on form better than last week, my mind is with the running for the most part.

Mile 9-10 - Still with Ashley, we have our little talk each inviting the other to go ahead if they wish. I have no intention of going faster yet. We have maintained pace since the top of the hill at mile 4, I am on pace to have a very good finish time, no need to blow it here. But as we get back onto the paved trail I find myself feeling better that I had since mile 3 and I do pick up the pace. I strike out on my own.

Mile 10.5 - Steepish uphill off the trail and onto the road. I wonder where Ashley is but I won't look back, that is a sign of weakness. I make the sharp turn on to the road and there is an aid station there, so as I grab a cup of water, I am not really looking back, more to the side. Yikes, she is right there about ten feet behind me.

Mile 11 - 12.1 - Flat road then down the steep hill. I will easily beat 1:43 and I feel really good about today's effort. Suddenly there is Ashley by my side. Great that she caught up. We run together again. I vow to not look at my watch, just give it a good effort.

Mile 12.1 - 13.1 - OK, one mile to go. I've had some minor right foot discomfort since about mile 5, but not too bad. My energy level is good and I can smell the finish line. I decide to make a move, strike out here and run the last mile pretty much all out. I grunt and really try to pick up the pace. Running faster and harder than at any time today. Have to slow just a bit for a wet steel plate on the road and then again at a downhill that is just too steep to run as fast as I would like. Now I am going all out. Not looking back, no one is going to pass me now. I finish strong and am very pleased with the finish time and my effort. Negative split time. My second fastest Half Marathon. Now I turn around and there is Ashley, a mere eight seconds behind me. I'll go around bragging that I beat her, because usually she is ahead of me, but really we are both happy to have run so well and its great to have someone to work with. My Oly friends ranged in time from 1:32 to 2:25. Most had smiles as they finished up and enjoyed the event.

Next up - I am registered for a 12 hour run on 8/15. Going to get a Summer's worth of long runs in one day. I plan to go very slowly with lots of walking and I do not need to be out there for the full 12 hours. Still I am somewhat anxious about it.


126th of 840, 13th of 40 in my age group

Race #204, Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon #2


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Race Against Crime 10K

Crime Stoppers Race Against Crime 5K and 10K is a first annual event. However this race is at the same location and with the same timing company as the Turn Back the Clock race last year. I liked that course out of the Lacey Rainier Vista Park and am looking forward to running it again. I was not sure if I would be able to race today so I did not sign up in advance. Registration was very smooth, I did get a T-shirt and a cloth bag with lost of swag. Note a very minor course change from last year. The little out and back for the 10K only is now closer to the finish. Maps of the course are available and it promises to be well marked, staffed with volunteers and accurate in distance. Its cloudy and cool for August.
Start - After watching a K-9 demonstration and doing a mile warm up, I line up toe to the start line. Small group for the 10k and we will start ten minutes before the larger 5K group. I do not recognize anyone in my race and just three people who will do the 5K. Too bad, this really is a quality event. We start right on time and a big group of about ten go zooming off. I know that is too fast for me I can only hope to reel some of them in later. I try to keep within my own pace and not go too fast, but a quick look at the watch says that I really should slow down a bit.
Mile 2 - Now on the paved Chehalis Western trail. When we got to the trail it was clearly marked that 10K goes left and 5K goes right. There was also a volunteer to tell us that too. But in front of me I see a young guy turn off onto the 5K course. If he was closer I would have yelled something. Maybe he started with the 10K group by mistake. I hope that he does not mess up the results. I can see the lead woman a ways ahead and I have just caught up to the second place woman. I encourage her to keep number one in sight and I move ahead some. Great flat course. Feeling good with no aches or pains. Just running faster than I am capable of sustaining for any long period of time.
Mile 3 - Off the trail. Aid station. One guy about 30 feet in front of me (he passed me a while back) and now a woman with a large pit bull type dog is trying to cross the route directly in front of me. The dog does not want to move and she is just standing in my way. I yell "look out" as I dodge the dog but I wanted to yell "are you blind?" She seemed oblivious the the race and aid station. I decide that I will get a drink on the way back. Lollipop course around the school. Back to the aid station and lots of runners coming toward me. I take an offered cup. Funny it is a MacDonald's paper cup. Then I drink. MacDonald's orange "drink". Whatever is in that I don't know but I don't think I care for it.
Mile 4 - Managed to catch up to and pass the lead woman. All I could do was grunt. This is really hard. My overall pace is slipping but I am still working at it. Someone remind me that I hate 10Ks. I am working about as hard as a 5K except that would be over by now. I am also having trouble concentrating on my form. My mind keeps wandering to both running and non running things. That is fine in a marathon where I could never focus on form for the whole race, but here, in order to maintain pace, I need to keep thinking about it. Frustrating and although my overall pace has not slowed much, I know that I am slowing and speeding up more that I should.
Mile 5 - We have merged with the 5K runners and walkers, now heading back to the park. Have to take that short out and back on a side street, so then I have to pass all the same people again. Finally near the finish. Turn on what little kick I have left. Hear footsteps fast approaching and I speed up even more. Tall guy kicks it in faster than me and beats me by a second. Nothing I could have done to beat him, I really gave it my all at the end. And I am very happy to duck in under 46 minutes. Fastest 10K since 2008.
Finish - Jog a mile, then see that results are already posted and that I made 3rd in my age group (40-49 ten year intervals). Awards ceremony starts promptly as the last runner comes in. Nice stainless steel water bottles and ribbons for the 5K age divisions. 10K winners get a large coffee mug. I don't need more stuff but it is always nice to get some kind of recognition I guess. Except that after they call the top two, they move on to the next age group. Then I realize that they never did call 3rd place in any group, awards only to the top two in each division. Makes sense for such a small race, I wish I had noticed that earlier though. Excellent raffles, though I did not win anything. Everything about this race was good. Accurate, scenic, well marked course with traffic control, mile markers and plenty of volunteers. No hassle registration with knowledgeable volunteers, not pricey, great parking and bathrooms, perfect running weather, cool swag. Yet another must run again event!!

45:58 9th of 65
Race# 203
10K # 27