I had not planned on being here today. I ran a marathon six days ago and I have many races coming up soon. One of my minor goals is to run 151 miles this month. I ran 150.9 last month, so just beating that, with three less days seems like a building of the mileage base that should be doable. With three days left in the month I could run 15 miles today, 6 tomorrow and then have a day off. And there just happens to be the 15 miler in Steilacoom....so here I am. It will be more fun than running alone, get me another half for the Half Fanatics club and provide gatorade and support along the way. I did not expect to see many friends here, but lots of them do show up and it will be a fun and encouraging time. My times here have been in the 1:59 to 2:02 range but I have no intention of being anywhere near that today.
We had some snow this week and then it turned super cold. It was 16F when I left the house and 23 or so at start time. I have all the layers on, especially since this is a long one and I plan to run on the slow side. The roads are mostly clear and footing should not be an issue. There is some blue sky and some clouds, dry but frigid.
Start - See a bunch of friends and talk with them instead of warming up. I'll just ease into it the first minutes. I am way in the back when we start and that is fine. Smooth start and no hurry for me around the track and up the hill.
Mile 0.5 - Catch up to HF#199. She usually a little slower than me and this is more of a training run for her too, so I decide to run with her for the company. It will be a comfortable pace somewhere between 9 and 9:30 per mile. Maybe I'll leave her if she really slows, or maybe she will ditch me if I hit the wall, who knows what will happen, but I think that we will stay together for most of this.
Mile 7.5 - Turn around at 1:08:43. It has been a pleasant time. MM1480 has run with us most of the time and it was nice to meet him. Same old course I have done so many times. Our pace on the faster side of what we had talked about, can we hold it for the way back?
Mile 10.2 - I get to tell my story of my most miserable run with the dizzy spell and meeting my guardian angel right at the spot where it happened.
Mile 11.5 - Last real uphill. M199 has to walk just a bit. Other than that we have held a very steady pace. I wonder if she is tiring, she did mention "running out of steam" a few minutes ago. I will try to encourage her and I guess at this point just stick with her to the end, but I hope that she can tap some energy reserves and finish strong. In the meantime, I feel great. No aches or pains, just a little heavy legged as I hit 50 miles for the week. I also feel a profound sense of gratitude to be able to be here, to be able to run 15 miles comfortably. We may be far back in the pack and I never win ribbons in Steilacoom, but at least I am out here doing this and having fun.
Mile 13.1 - HF199 has come back strong and I am impressed. She asks the time and I see that we are at 1:58. She does not often run halfs under 2:00 and it dawns on me that she is running well and probably pushing herself hard. We have passed two runners in the second half of this race and no one has passed us. I love negative splits, partially because they are so uncommon. I hope that we can have one here.
Mile 15 -Finish - We held a steady pace and I could sense the finish line and was ready to put on some speed, but HF199 was not quite there yet. Finally down to the track and she does her best sprint actually running quite fast. Very even pacing and great run. We ran the second half under 1:08 getting that negative split. In to the school to warm up and have a baked potato.
15 mile race #6 - all at Steilacoom