Sunday, July 24, 2011

7-24-11 Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

I have fond memories of doing this race three years ago, running strong and setting a PR of 3:48. Hoping to do even better today. A little worried about the weather forecast, with hot temperatures predicted, but not much I can do about that. I carpool up with Ron and Jennifer and enjoy their company. Get to the bus in plenty of time for the ride to the top of Snoqualamie Pass. It seems cool here, but in the 45 minutes before the start I can feel it warming up. Race is sold out, but bib pick up and restrooms are no problem. They have a 7AM start and an 8AM start and I think that many runners did take the early start, to beat the heat. Getting up at 4:10AM seemed early enough so we are starting at 8AM.

Start - No one seems to want to line up at the front, so I end up close to the start line. We set off right on time. Very short out and back in the bright sunshine.

Mile 0.3 - Sunglasses come off and the Knuckle lights come on. Fun Father's Day present, this is my first time using them. They cast a wide swath of light and serve me well.

Mile 1 - Mile marker is a chalk line in the dark tunnel. Thanks to Matt and Betsy and RD Brian for putting this race on and for providing mile markers on a trail race. The tunnel is a very unique place to run. I enjoy the chance to do this, but I am also watching the light at the end of the tunnel slowly grow, and I look forward to getting out. It is humid in here and at some places there is water dripping from the ceiling. One large drop of water splashes down and gets me right in the eye.

Mile 2.7 - Out of the tunnel and it feels much cooler to be out. Knuck Lights off and into the drop bag that will be sent to the finish line. Soon it warms up, but very runnable, for now. GPS is off from the mile markers by about three tenths of a mile. I settle in for a nice downhill run at a comfortably fast pace.

Mile 6 - Getting warmer. I have been cruising along at a steady pace that will get me a PR. Bob Dolphin sighting, he started at 7AM. Someone is close behind me but not passing. When I run the tangents on this rocky dirt road, she is crossing over and staying right on my tail. The sound is more annoying than anything else. Crunch crunch on the gravelly trail. The course is rockier than I remember, sharp little rocks that I will not trip on, but will wear out my feet long before this race is over.

Mile 9 - Warmer. At an aid station I pass a runner who had been ahead of me but is now dousing himself in a small waterfall. Since I am carrying my fuel belt with water and gatorade I do not need to stop at every aid station and I am able to get away from the woman who was tailing me for three miles. Somewhere around here I apparently ran past a bear sitting in a tree along the trail. Lots of people saw it, but not me.

Mile 16 - Alternating sunshine with shady spots. Really hot in the sun and I have done very little warm weather running this year. Here I realize that my right knee which had been hurting a little after last weeks race is doing great. No aches or pains, just getting sluggish from the heat.

Mile 19 - My pace is slowing and I know now that I will not PR. To mark the moment I walk long enough to grab a ripe salmonberry off the trail edge. Back to running and at least beat 4 hours.

Mile 22 - Getting very hot and difficult now. It is a different sort of tired. Not the typical wall, just a gradual slow down that I believe is due to the heat. The problem is that I keep getting slower and slower. At this point I start to doubt that I will beat 4 hours. Cold water on my head at an aid station instantly turns warm as it trickles off my hair and down my neck.

Mile 23 - Still passing some 7AM starters, but also getting passed by 8AM runners. Not as many as I expected though, perhaps I am not the only one wilting. Catch up to Monte. He encourages me to keep going. At this point though, even though I have eased way back on the effort, it really is a struggle to even shuffle/run. Now this has become a training run, to just keep moving, but it is very very difficult. One of the hardest races I have done in a long time. A couple of times today I have had some light headedness and nausea and I made the easy decision to back off the pace and not end up needing medical aid. Sure I would like to be faster and there is a time to push my limits, but not today.

Mile 26.2 - I can see the finish now and am so glad for this to be over. Someone has run out to encourage another runner who is just behind me. I decide that I have been passed enough for one race and do not let him catch me. Not much of a sprint, but I do get in before him. I forget to stop my watch at the finish and will not know my official time for a while.

Update 7-26: Official time is posted and I added photos by Jennifer Seward. Thanks Jennifer!!


119th place of 287

Race#244, Marathon or Ultra#69


Saturday, July 16, 2011

7/16/11 Chelanman Half Marathon

Third year here in a row. Jody doing the Olympic distance triathlon. I am not a fan of the open road course with bikes and cars. Also slanty and rough in places pavement. The worst part is the heat but that will not be an issue this time. It is cloudy and much cooler than usual. Even a little mist and light rain at times.

People come here for the triathlon races. The running events (10K and half marathon) are a bit of an afterthought. Last year the run races started a little late as they were waiting for all the bikers to get on course. I expect the same today and do not go near the start line until about ten minutes before the scheduled start. The 300 or so runners are all being told to stay in a little patch on the side of the road as the bikers are still coming through. The RD says that we will start on time however. I go up to the main road to get in a little warm up. When I get back, the RD is having all the runners cross the street at once and line up in front of the narrow chip mat. I end up about midway in the crowd and it will take me almost 20 seconds to get to the mat when the race starts.

Start - Super crowded and slow in the hotel parking lot. Stay relaxed and try to not do anything drastic as we turn left and then right and up the hill out of the lot. Right turn onto the road, all in the first two tenths of a mile. Now on the road I can pass a whole bunch of people and get even with those who are running about the pace I want to be at.

Mile 1 - 7:44 and now accelerating some.

Mile 2- Average pace at 7:40. On the down hills I get it down to 7:36 and let it go back up on the uphills. I think that my PR pace is 7:40, it will be interesting to see if I can hold it. At times it seems easy, at other times it is more laborious.

Mile 6 - Pleasant running with the other racers. I have passed a few and also been passed, but now that the 10K runners have turned around I am mostly running alone. The kids at the aid stations are great. Yelling out if they have water or gatorade.

Mile 6.5 - Steepish uphill to the turn around. I pass a bicyclist just before the turnaround cone. Now I get to run downhill, with the wind at by back, though it is gentle. Tammy Herzog sighting. She tells me that I am in either 19th or 20th place. She is having a good race and will go on for a sub 2 hour time. I just try to hold the pace.

Mile 8 - Gradually catch one kid who is having tons of fun, hooting and hollering at everything. We encourage the stragglers still heading out.

Mile 9 - One woman has passed me, but now I see that two guys are getting closer. At the aid station they both start walking. I am able to pass them both.

Mile 10 - Merge with the hordes triathlete runners and now I will not know if someone passing me is in my race or a triathlete, unless I think to look for a number on their leg. Mostly though I am focused on my own thing. It is getting harder, but I am still at 7:40 pace. The math in my head does not quite add up though and at the mile marker I see that my GPS is reading long. My actual pace is a little slower than what the watch is reading, if that mile marker is in the right spot. If the GPS is right and if I am able to have a strong finish, I could actually PR. But if the mile marker is right, I will not PR, though it will still be a very decent finish time.

Mile 10.5 - Jody on the bike part of her course, yells to me as she whizzes by.

Mile 11 - Uphill and things start to fall apart. Trying hard but I am slowing.

Mile 12 - Pass by Jody who is at mile 1 of the running part of her race. The watch says that I am at 7:42 overall pace, but after seeing the last mile markers I know that the GPS is in fact off, or that the course is a little long. I will maintain this pace, up that last hill and down to the finish, but my official overall pace will be recorded at 7:47/mile. I try very hard to get a time under 1:42, but come up a few seconds shy. Still more than five minutes faster than last year and one of my top half marathon times.

I placed third in my age group. The past two years we all got finishers medals and I got a nice glass mug for being and age group winner. This year there were no age group awards for the runners as "we gave you medals" we were told. Somewhat beat up after this race but I should be ready to go again next weekend.


17th of 139


Sunday, July 3, 2011

7/3/11 Tumwater Pioneer Days Summer Run 5K

This used to be the "Dollars for Scholars" race but now it has a new name and course. Still put on by the Tumwater Chamber of Commerce. Now a very flat course on roads near the airport. Although I did receive a flier with course map in the mail, this race was not advertised very well. That plus the variety of local options this weekend leads to a very small turn out today. Looking around at the start I do not see anyone that I know can beat me. Well, Craig is here, but he is not racing. Guerrilla Running is doing the timing and as usual they will have accurate and quickly posted results. The course is certified, so my two requirements (accurate distance and timing) for a good race are met. It is sunny with some clouds, not too warm. I drove in from Hood Canal this morning and managed to remember everything that I need, except sunglasses. I will manage without them. No real time goal since I have not done a 5K since February and I am coming off 3 marathons in the last 4 weeks, plus the Sound to Narrows race. Today is about getting back to some fast running and starting to train for half marathons that I will run later in the Summer.

Start - Still no not see anyone that I know is super fast. Erik is here and we are usually very close, he still beats me more often than not. I did a good 1.5 mile warm up, then some strides. Right foot feels fine. Everything feels good. Ready to run and off we go.

Mile 0.5 - Three runners are ahead of me on this long flat straight road. Erik is right at my side. I am going way too fast, but it feels OK. I probably should slow down a little because I will never hold this pace. But I see that the three in front of me are not getting any farther away. The lead two are about 40-50 feet ahead and now we are running at the same pace. If I could go a little faster, I could catch them and then go back to the slower pace and maintain with them for a while. I should not do this, but how often do I have a chance to win a race? I step it up a little, break from Erik and try to gain ground.

Mile 1 - 6:45 - Way too fast, I am supremely confident that I can not maintain this pace. But I have caught up to and passed the third place guy and I am much closer to the lead two. I had meant to focus on form but instead I am grinding this out as fast as I can and I am not thinking about form at all.

Mile 1.5 - It is such a short time from the one mile mark to 1.5, where the race is almost halfway over. Still flat with long straight aways. Blow through the aid station and douse my head, try to get a small drink but spill it all on my face. Overall pace now at 6:52 and Erik passes me.

Mile 2 - Guy with toe shoes passes me. He remembers me from the Capitol City Marathon where I helped pace him. He thanks me for that and I tell him that he should let me beat him today, but no, he eases on ahead.

Mile 2.5 - Pace is slowing. I can still see the lead runner, who is now extending his lead. I am not within range of catching anyone. At a turn I look back and see that no one is close behind me. After some great competition I will run the last bit of this race in "no man's land". The pace slows a little more.

Mile 2.8 - I am closing the gap on one of those ahead of me but there is not time to catch him. This is a fast course for sure, however at the very end we turn left, then take another left and immediate right into a parking lot where the finish line is. Not able to sprint at the very end, but still a good course.

Mile 3.1 - Finish OK and I am pleased with my time. I should not have gone out so fast, but I knew the gamble I was taking, and I did not fall apart so badly. Legs felt very good and I am pleased with the effort. Chamber of Commerce races have really good raffles and with the small turn out I am sure that I will go home with something. Unfortunately my number is not called. I do get a blue ribbon for earning first place in my age group. Nice little event that I would do again.


5th place of 35


Race #242