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

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