Sunday, November 28, 2010

11-28-10 Seattle Marathon

My third time here. Five years ago I ran this seven weeks after Portland and was concerned about how it would go, running marathons so close together. This year I ran a marathon five weeks ago and I am concerned that it is too far apart. I got in an OK long run on the trails two weeks ago, then the weather turned icy and nasty and all training fell apart. In a way it is good as some minor aches have gone away. I mostly want to have fun today and to beat four hours is always a goal.

I have a trash bag with me to convert into a rain poncho if needed, but it looks like we will luck out and be dry. It is cold so I have my jacket, hat and gloves. Eight fig newtons in my pockets and some S!Caps, but no Gu or energy gel. This is a continuation of my nutritional experiment from the last marathon that went very well.

1.3 mile walk from the condo to the start line. I time it well and get to see the huge race that is the half marathon go by. Jennifer Seward sighting. Then cluster around with other Maniacs. This race draws so many club members and with its two out and back sections it is really fun to see everybody. At least eight people that I know are completing a "Quadzilla" today which is four marathons in four days. Three of those will go on to run much faster than me today. Another friend will finally get that elusive BQ after much effort and deliberate training. One of my students is here running his first marathon. He will catch up to me at mile 2.5 and run with me until mile 4. Then he will blaze on much too fast. I expect him to come back at some point, but will he?

Start - Well organized race and it is a smooth start. M761 finds me just before we are released. Run with her and M111 for a bit

Mile 1 - I managed to not run into a monorail support, goal number one accomplished today. M111 goes off faster. He is finishing the quad today. Twice this year he passed me late in a race, even though he was on the second day of a double. I thought that maybe after a triple we might be about the same speed, but he is way ahead now and I will not see him till after the finish.

Mile 2.5 - Half Marathon walkers are not a problem this year as they are on a different highway ramp. I do not like all this concrete, but I feel good.

Mile 4 - In the Express lane tunnel. Lose GPS signal. My student gets ahead at a water stop and I do not try to keep up. Suddenly I am surrounded by three members of the Kuhlmann family. Fun to see that M761's siblings are getting faster.

Mile 6 - On the I-90 bridge. Very little wind which is a good thing. Holding a steady pace, a little faster than I should be, but not too bad.

Mile 8 - Bob Dolphin sighting.

Mile 13.1 - Nice steady running. Hit the half at 1:56 and change. Two minutes faster than I had planned, but well within range.

Mile 14.5 - Pass two guys who are walking and I overhear one say "Maybe if we had trained this would have gone better".

Mile 18.5 - Starting to tire. Legs a little stiff. I encourage M761 to go on ahead. I keep running though, holding pace. Soon I catch Maniac Lesa and we run together. Like M761 she is great company for me. Don't have to talk all the time and I know that her finish times are similar to mine. Big hill here I had forgotten about. I had been waiting for the super steep Galen street hill, but there is a big one now that takes a little out of me.

Mile 20.5 - Galen street hill. So steep it is crazy. At least it is short. As soon as I start climbing I can feel both my calves tighten up. Not quite a cramp, but something seriously different. Able to keep running, we level off then climb the longer but less steep Madison street. Now both legs are tightening up all up and down. A little painful but mostly just uncomfortable.

Mile 22 - Downhill, now back up through the arboretum. Climbing, twisting road. Seems to level off, then goes up again. Tough to keep moving but I do not stop to walk and I am passing lots of walkers. My running pace has slowed and runners are passing me but I'd like to not walk and I think that I will have to do so if I am to beat four hours. Plus I may get "pigtailed" or "kimpossibled" if I slow any more. Large photos and memorial signs from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on both sides of the road. I think of their suffering and how minor mine is and I move a little faster.

Mile 24 - More downhills now. Good spirits and decent energy, just my legs are not cooperating. Too much concrete. My last two marathons and long training run where on trails and I think that is the problem. Stomach is OK and I think that the Fig Newtons are working way better than gels, so that is a big plus.

Mile 25 - Steep downhill. Too steep, I have to be careful to not fall apart and fall down here.

Mile 25.9 - Dip down and then up the last tough little hill. I almost grind to a walk, but I am so close now I keep jogging/shuffling on.

Mile 26 - My biggest fan Jody is here to take my hat and cheer me to the end. Into the stadium. I hit the grass just as my watch turns to 3:59. I will make it under four but barely. I did well to not negotiate with the watch. Maybe I would have, but every time I checked my time I realized that I had to keep pushing to beat four. I never did catch my student, he finished about 90 seconds ahead of me.

Mile 26.2 - Glad to be done. Way harder on the legs than any recent races. I will have to hobble around for a while. Lots of happy Maniacs in the recovery area. Most are pleased with the day and I rate this up there as one of my favorites.

861st of 2284
56th marathon or ultra
31st sub four hour marathon
3rd Seattle Marathon

Saturday, November 13, 2010

11/13/10 Club Oly Tis the Season for a 5K, race #2 at Millersylvania State Park

My third time here at this great little race. 2008 was a three mile race, but for the last two years the course has been lengthened to be much closer to a 5K. Huge variety of trails but they are all flat.

I am thinking about the Seattle Marathon that is two weeks away and that I have not run long for three weeks now. I really should get in a long run. I could do it tomorrow, but here I am up early and dressed to run. I decide to do a very long warm up, run the race as best I can, then finish with a super long cool down.

A little muddy in spots but I have seen it much worse. Its cool and foggy and may drizzle. I run 5.7 miles alone on the trails before the start. At a bridge that crosses a little creek I see two large coho salmon.

Start - Twelve of us line up. One more than last year. A couple of young guys and Rich is going to run as well. We start off and four of them explode away, a tight pack when I see them on the short out and back section. Meanwhile I am running way too fast and I know I will slow. I hold with Ron who always beats me and Nick is in there two.

Mile 1 - Ron has pulled away. Nick is pushing me from behind. Whenever there is a good section of trail I put on a surge, then ease up a bit where the trail gets rough or I just run out of steam. Nick passes me and looks like he is out for a stroll.

Mile 1.75 - At the end of the first loop, all the volunteers and spectators are cheering. The sound dies down and I can not help but listen for the next round of cheering so I can know how far back the next runner is. Sounds good, looks like I am locked into this position.

Mile 3.1 - Smooth running to the finish. I did slow some but my time is 24 seconds faster than last year. I gave it a good effort and am happy with the result. Everyone got a pumpkin pie and I won a "raffle" and got a nice pair of socks. I am starting to cool off and really need to get running again so it is back on the trail, but as slowly as I feel like going, which is very slow at this point. Five miles into it I turn an ankle and almost fall. That ankle is OK but within another mile my other ankle starts to bug me. The next couple of miles are a debate on how much farther to push myself not wanting to get injured. Finally I get good and tired and go for another half mile before quitting. 18.2 miles for the morning. Got in the long run, the race, and the ankles are fine.

22:23 (course record)
7th of 12
race #217
ClubOly Tis the Season race at Millersylvania #3

Sunday, November 7, 2010

11/7/10 Turn Back the Clock 10K

First time running 10Ks on consecutive days. I'll give it my best and be happy with whatever happens. This is a quality event, very well organized at a great price with a no T-shirt option. Some overlap of this course with the Puddle Jump on the Chehalis Western Trail. Same course as the Race Against Crime, where I ran a 35:58 a few months ago. Too bad I ran hard yesterday.
Start - Rain shower when I arrived, but now the sun is out. It is bright and reflecting off the wet roads, so I grab my sunglasses and go for my warm up run. Legs feel OK, not 100%. Just a little less spring in my step than yesterday. But I warm up well and should be able to race alright. Five minutes prior to the start there is a huge beautiful double rainbow ahead where we will run. Sun is behind us, very dark cloud and rainbow ahead of us. Larger race than yesterday and some real fast runners here. I do not want to go out too fast, so I lined up with a couple of rows of people in front of me, but only a second or two from the start line. Right on time we are released to run.
Mile 0.2 - Heavy rain shower starts. Maybe a little hail mixed in. No strong wind, but a real downpour. Guess I won't need the sunglasses, I push them up on my head. Shoes get a little soggy and rivers of storm water run down the curb.
Mile 0.4 - Feeling boxed in and wanting to go faster. I have to go off to the side to get around a couple of people. Now I have room to run my own race.
Mile 0.75 - Club Oly volunteers at a couple of road crossings. Thanks guys!!
Mile 1 - On to the trail where I was racing yesterday. Rain has let up and maybe even stopped, but it is dripping off the leaves that remain overhanging the trail. More wet leaves on the ground than yesterday. Pass a couple of people and pleased to see that I am running the same pace as yesterday.
Mile 2.8 - Course is out and back, but has a small lollipop where we go around Horizons Elementary School. I coin a new term as I see the lead runners come toward me; I got "lollipopped". Pass a guy that I was behind for a while and settle in right behind another runner.
Mile 3.3 - Around the school and back on the trail. Pull even with the guy ahead of me and we run together for a while, picking up the pace just a bit. Eventually I pull ahead and then pass another runner. I expect to slow at any time now, but so far no one has caught me.
Mile 4.5 - Merge with the 5K runners, who started about 15 minutes later than us. They are running slower than us, but not by a whole lot. We are directed onto the sidewalk and I have to work my way around those who are running two abreast.
Mile 5 - Now I feel tired. Got to push hard for just another mile.
Mile 5.2 - Tammy Herzog sighting
Mile 5.7 - Little out and back on a side road. Sun is out and shining brightly off the road. I lower my sunglasses but they are all wet and fogged up so I do not keep them on. Try to just look at the road at my feet while taking the tangent of the curve as best I can. At the turn around I see a guy pushing a stroller not far behind me. This will be my motivation; I do not want to get "strollered".
Mile 6.1 - Have been trying to kick it in for the finish for a while now, but I have nothing left. I will finish with the same pace as yesterday and that is awesome. And no one passed me the entire race. Then out of nowhere the stroller guy comes flying past me and beats me by a second or two. I tried to match him but just could not do it. Still so pleased with how the run went.

45:37 (personal course record)
19th of over 80 4th of at least 9 in age group
Race #216 10K#29 Turn Back the Clock#2 3rd time on this course

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11/6/10 Puddle Jump 10K

Attempting my first 10K double this weekend. Logistically easy with Saturday and Sunday races in Lacey, close to home. I was even able to pick up my packet for both races on Friday. The Puddle Jump is a first time event sponsored by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and Work Well, the "healthy workplace program". The 5K and 10K races start and finish at the Horizons Elementary school and follow the same course as the Run for Luck. Flat and fast on the Chehalis Western (paved) Trail.
Since I already have my race number there is no need to get there early. I do arrive in plenty of time. Nice temperature and the rain is holding off, humid and a little misty but great running weather. Before going for my warm up run I decide to walk through the school cafeteria where runners are waiting and picking up their numbers. Good thing I took that detour because I hear an announcer say that after getting a number you have to go outside and get your timing chip. There was no chip or mention of a chip at packet pick up. They do have one waiting for me though so it is not a big deal. Outside though I find out that the start will be at the trailhead about a quarter mile away from the school and where the Run For Luck start takes place. I wonder if this course will be short by 0.4 miles. I jog down to the trail and turn left onto the trail. 0.2 miles later there is a sign that states it is mile 0.6 of the race. That confirms for me that the course will be short. I also wonder why they would make a nice sign for mile 0.6. That is about one kilometer, so maybe there will be a sign every Km. Whoever put it there should know that it is not nearly in the right place, a mere 0.2 miles from the start.
Have a good warm up, learn that the race will start ten minutes late. No problem I expected that as I saw the lines still registering when I was back at the school. I also hear that we will turn around at the Chambers Lake Trailhead. Now that seems too far. To be accurate we should turn around somewhere past the Run For Luck turn around, but well before Chambers Lake. O well, I'll just run until instructed to turn around.
Start - 10K will start first, 5K a few minutes later. We line up but no one wants to toe the line up front. A couple of people look fast, but you can never tell. I do not see anyone that I recognize and I start to think about the slim chance of actually winning. Then we are off. 30 feet down to the turn at the wide trail. One person, a woman, ahead of me, then a guy zooms out and quickly is out of reach.
Mile 1 - Feeling good. Sure that I am going too fast. I can see the guy way ahead and the woman is pulling away too. Loud footsteps right behind me. They continue for some time and eventually I am passed by a guy. He does not get far ahead of me though. I am concerned that I am going too fast and will slow but I am in a good groove. About a 7:15 per mile pace. My PR pace is 7:09.mile and I expect to be around 7:30/mile, hopefully a little faster than that.
Mile 2 - I pull even with guy who was just in front of me and decide to just run even with him for a while. If it is not too hard I can pass him later, and it sure would be great to finish as 3rd overall. He pulls ahead again but just by a few feet.
Mile 3 - The first place runner has not come back to me yet, confirming that the course will be long. Finally at mile 3.35 I see a medical tent and another tent/aid station. A volunteer is about 30 feet before them and he says that this is the turn around. I had seen the first woman go all the way to the tents before turning around and I think that is what I need to do, plus I would like a little water. I take a drink and look back and see people turning around where the volunteer is, two people get ahead of me that way. I ditch my cup in the garbage and zoom off to regain my position. The guy who was in third does not zoom out and I would not see him again. I am able to catch the two fast turners and am now in third place. But there is a large group right on my tail and I doubt that I will hold this pace much longer.
Mile 4.1 - I know that it is mile 4.1 because there is one of the random race markers here. Since it is the Puddle Jump race I jump over the one small puddle as I had on the way out too. They should have called it the leaf jump. Lots of patches of Acer macrophyllum leaves. I have to be a little careful running through those in case of any hidden trip hazards and use caution on the two short slick wooden bridges, but most of the course is clear and I try to pick up the pace on the non leafy sections. I am passed by a younger guy and then another guy.
Mile 6 - Overall pace now at 7:20. I can not hear anyone behind me. I start to think about tomorrow and whether I should save some energy for that race. But I would love to finish 5th here and I keep up pace as best I can. 10Ks can be very tough mentally and physically, trying to hold such a pace for so long, but I have done well today. Legs feel good and I am happy to be out here running. Passing some 5K walkers and joggers and I cruise on in the the finish.
Finish - Cheer on more finishers and get in over a mile cool down jog. Results are posted at the finish area and I see that two 5K females were listed as running the 10K in very fast times. That bumps me down to 7th overall, but they will fix that right? Men's results look right. Everyone gets a finishers medal and at the awards ceremony they have trophies for 1st-3rd in all the age groups. Overall male is usually bumped from the division awards so I will be getting a large first in age group trophy. After I get my award, the guy who won the race comes over and asks if I am going to give him my trophy. "Why would I do that?" I ask. He replies that he is in my age group and he was not announced for anything. I had seen his name on the results page and also recognized him as the overall winner, so I suggest that we go sort it out after the ceremony which is just about over anyway. There is also confusion because the overall female winner was given a second place in age group award (one of the 5K female results was not removed from the 10K list). At the award table we see that there are trophies for overall winners 1-3, but not for both male and female. I suggest that the woman's winner, who was second overall, take the second overall trophy as it is rightfully hers. I also point to the 10K overall trophy and suggest that the winner take that. The race director likes that idea, but also somewhere it is mentioned that the overall winners were not bumped from age group divisions like they are at most races. The overall winner wants my 1st in age group trophy, so I give it to him and he walks off with two trophies. I guess that I was second in my age group, "so can I have a second place in age group trophy?" There are many trophies on and under the table and each was listed for what age group it is for. The RD looks around a bit, but it is not there. That award had already been given out and the runner had left. So I get nothing, and I really do not need a cheesy trophy. It is more of an interesting story than something that bothers me. The RD insisted on taking my name and number so they can award me properly. I really do not need that. In my opinion chip timing is not needed for races of under 200 runners. Also inaugural events should stick to one distance as it is easier to manage.
I have often said that the only two things I really require from a race are accurate distance and timing. This race had neither, but I still had a fun time. Great to be feeling good and running near my best times. I give it four stars and hope I have as much fun tomorrow.

5th overall of 126
2nd in age group (40-49) of 7
Race #215 10K# 28