Saturday, August 27, 2011

8/27/11 Run Like a Dog 5K

Nice day for a local 5K that is run about five miles from my house. I contemplate running to the race and running home, but decide that I do not need so many miles. I am ahead of my mileage goal for August already and still a litle worn out from the 12 hour race that was two weeks ago. $25 day of race entry fee gets me a cool looking cotton T-shirt and a bag full of items for the dog. I could have also gotten a T-shirt for my dog, but opted out of that. I left the old dog at home today, since I would like to run faster than he can handle these days. It is partly cloudy and after a mile and half warm up I am sweating, but it is not very hot.

Start - My third time here and each time I have the same worry about the crowded start line and the large number of dogs. We run in the parking lot, make a very quick turn and then it narrows onto the paved Chehalis Western trail. It could be a tangle of leashes and mayhem if we are not all careful. I start near the front. It is very crowded but we negotiate the first couple of hundred feet and make it to the trail OK.

Mile 0.5 - Places are sorting out. I am passing people and being passed. Now only one dog in front of me. One guy blocks me in as I try to pass on the inside curve of the trail. Frustrating, I have to go around him the other way. Two people on bikes are trying to come the other way on the trail. Not a good time for that, but I get past them OK.

Mile 1 - 6:40. Much faster than I wanted to go. Now all I can do is see if I can hold it together. Turn onto the road and one guy tries to pass me. I stay with him and we run side by side.

Mile 2 - Still running with the guy. Every once in a while one of us gets a few steps ahead, but then the other of us catches up. Plenty of open room to run now. Its great to have someone right with me, I am sure that I would not be going as fast without the competition.

Mile 2.5 - Back onto the trail on this lollipop course. Some dog walkers still heading out and I have to watch for the dogs that are on long leashes. I am still well under 7/mile pace and still with the guy. I do not care if he beats me, I am happy enough with my own time. I will not beat my time here from 2 years ago, but it might be close. Up a little hill and he gets a few steps ahead of me for good. But no one else passes me at any point after the first mile.

Mile 3.1 - I turn it on for a good sprint to the finish. I feel like the race went very well, but I could have done better. Not at my best today, but fairly close. GPS reads 3.04 as does Marhtino's. Fun to run with him and see other friends there. I stay for the awards and raffles but do not win anything. I really like how so many non racers and casual runners come out for this with their dogs for a fun morning. The proceeds benefit the Humane Society which is a plus too.

21st place of 348 runners and walkers
Race# 247, 5K #62, Run Like a Dog #3

Monday, August 15, 2011

8/14/11 Transcendence 12 hour

Second annual event and my second time here. Since I ran my first 50 miler in March, my goal today is to go at least 51 miles and also beat my time from then (9:44). If that goes well I hope to continue at an easy pace and go for at least 11 hours, making the most of the event. Last year I quit at 33.5 miles (6:22) mostly because of the intense heat. Today it will be much cooler and very nice for running.

Start to 26.2 miles - You would think that with such a long race there would be much to write about. But this course is so dull, 1.52 miles per loop around Capitol Lake, every loop blends into each other. I go a little faster than I should but also am not wasting time at the aid stations. I try to stop for water after every two laps, then have food and some other liquids on every 4th lap, being careful not to linger. Planned walk breaks after each loop give my legs a rest and a chance to digest some. I reach the marathon mark in about 4:20. Faster than planned and I am feeling good.

Mile 26.2 to 31.1 (50K) - I need to have goals within the larger goal in order to stay motivated and on task. I soon realize that if I can keep up this pace I could set a PR for the 50K distance. My PR is 5:09. I start watching the clock more closely. Then it becomes something of a challenge. I pick it up and start telling people what I am trying to do. At about 30.5 I catch up to a woman who wants to help me and she starts pacing me to go quicker. Soon I realize that she is not in the ultra race, she is just running a few laps around the lake as it is open to the public. Now we are going at about 8:30/mile pace, way faster than I should go, but I hit my mark in 5:07. Not an official PR and my GPS is off from the official race distance, so I won't count it for my records but it was a fun challenge. Now I can slow down and start thinking about 50 miles.

Mile 31.1 to 50 - This is way too long of a distance to have as a leg of this race. I have a couple of rewards planned for reaching milestones. I told myself that after 6 hours I would grab my music player and use that diversion. I also have my camera and plan to run one loop with it. But I do neither. I don't feel like taking the time to do those things. Still trying to go fast through the aid stations. I do have some fun with food. For one lap I grab 4 grapes and eat one at each quarter of the loop. I also break into my Starbucks cold frappachino drink and experiment with that. Stomach handles it well and it sure hits the spot. In the end though it was the fellow runners who made this section more than tolerable. Running mostly alone, but I keep catching up to someone taking a walk break and I can walk with them for a stretch. Or someone catches me and we run together for a bit. Rose, Esther, Guy, Monte, Marie and pack, Marilou, Robert, Cyndie, Mike and others. Jody has stopped by twice and it was great to look forward to seeing her on the back side of the course. My energy level is good, but unfortunately I am getting some pains up and down my right leg. If I walk it goes away. I am able to run farther on the gravel path than the concrete but with both surfaces I eventually get some pain and go to a walk for a while. I have plenty of time to reach my goals so I am in no rush, I for sure do not want to injure myself. I adjusted my GPS to match the official distance and now I close in on 50 miles. The Rogue Wave catches up to me and it is fitting that she is there when I hit 50 miles and cross into new mileage territory. I hit the 50 mile mark in 9:32.

Mile 50 to 57.9 - Now I have 2.5 hours to just keep moving and add to my distance record. The pain comes more often and I am walking a lot. At the 10 hour mark the leader board is updated and I am pleased to see that I am in 10th place overall. 4th Masters runner but I will not be able to catch my buddy Ron who is two laps ahead of me. The posting does not say who has stopped running, so I need to keep going. There is quite a battle for the woman's first place. I know all three women who are close to being in the lead and as I see them I encourage each of them. Jesse and Matt continue to lap me and Jesse will end up with over 80 miles! I am doing loops in about 25 minutes now, being passed by a lot of people. I decide to not start any lap after 11:30 and when I reach the check in at 11:20 I know that I will do one more lap. 3/4 of the way through, Jill Hudson blazes past me and I wonder if I just lost 10th place. It turns out that she was still one lap behind me. Also three guys who I do not know had passed me since the 10 hour mark so really I am in 13th place. Now Kimpossible passes me and again I wonder if she is on the same lap. I do not want her to beat me, so I start running faster. I work very hard and am surprised at how fast and long I can keep running. Reach the finish in 11:42. Kimpossible was one lap behind me and now she sets off to do one more. If she can not get in under 12:00 that lap will not count. It is close but she makes it. Exciting finish. Finally I sit down, for the first time since 6AM. I am able to get out of my chair when I need to but I do not feel so good. Its going to be a rough recovery but I think I will be fine in a few days. I totalled 72.9 miles in the last 7 days and that is a new record for me.

Although the course is boring and the lake is disgusting (they really need to make a decision and either dredge it or revert it to an estuary) I prefer this kind of ultra. I can't get lost, probably wont fall and don't have to carry anything as I reach the aid station and my stash of goods every 1.5 miles. The loops let me see lots of friends. Plenty of volunteers and accurate results posted in a timely fashion. Hope to come back again next year.

57.9 miles (38 laps)
11 hours 42 minutes 23 seconds

13th place of 74
Race #246 Marathon or Ultra #70 Transcendence 12 hour #2

Sunday, August 7, 2011

8/6/11 Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon

My best half marathon time was here, three years ago (1:40:23). I missed the race in 2009 but ran a 1:41:44 here last year. A good half for me is anything under 1:43. I think that I am in decent shape for this year. My 1:42 at the tough Chelan course and my PR at the Sound to Narrows in June has given me enough confidence to at least try to go for a sub 1:40 and PR today. Its funny how a 1:39 sounds so much better than 1:40. Its like buying something for $3.99 thinking that is so much cheaper than $4.00. It has been 15 years since I started running halfs in the 1:40s and anything under that is always what the fast people do. To have just one finish under 1:40 in my running career would mean a lot, at least to me. I feel great, the weather is perfect, I know the course, there will even be two runners pacing 1:40. I will stick to the pacers and see if it is to be my day.

Start - Getting to the start is a snap. I have plenty of time to greet friends, be in a group photo with the Marathon Maniacs and do a very short warm up. Now lined up with Bullseye Bob one of the 1:40 pacers and ready to follow him all the way from Gig Harbor to Tacoma. Just before the start I see Maniac Ginger. We give each other the evil eye. Then we are off so fast. I do not see Ginger ahead of me, nor do I see her at the out and back at the half mile mark. So I assume that she is behind me, and throughout the race I think about that and expect her to breeze past me. But no, she is ahead and running a great race. If she is having a good day at all, I have no chance of catching her and today will be one of those days.

Mile 2 - The pace seems so fast. We need to average 7:39/mile but here we are going at 7:25. It is somewhat downhill with uphills to come. I will trust my pacers.

Mile 3 - On the Narrows Bridge going downhill. Amazing views. I am running comfortably hard and I have Bullseye Bob on my left, the Rogue Wave on my right and another friend, Paul H with me too. I love this moment. Paul spits out over the bridge and I feel like that is something I should do too, so I do. I can not be too chatty at this pace, but I am able to talk a little and stay relaxed. So far so good.

Mile 4 - Now the part of the course that I fear. The long uphill side of the bridge and more up after that. RW says that it is not as bad as it looks from here, and I know that I have done this before, its just where things get tough. Pacer Bullseye Bob starts to drop back and the other pacer MM1694 (Brad) who I have not met before is holding the same pace up this hill. Should I stay with Bob? He had said that we would ease up on the hill and make the time up later. He also is just getting better from having the flu and I think that he asked for a second pacer just in case he did not have the energy to run so fast today. I end up sort of splitting the difference. I just can not keep up with Brad or the Rogue Wave on this uphill, but I also leave Bob behind somewhere. I will not look back to see where he is. Paul is also behind now, but will finish right after me.

Mile 5.5 - Through the neighborhood with its turns and ups and downs. Seems like every little uphill I lose ground on pacer Brad and RW but reel them back in on the flats or downhills. This is a little frustrating because one thing I have been working on in training is hill repeats. Guess that I need to work them even harder. I claw my way back to them. Now with most of the uphills done the running gets easier and we are at 7:33 average pace, ahead of schedule. We are back on the paved trail along Highway 16, same route as the Tacoma Marathon. Feeling good.

Mile 6.5 - Our 1:40 pace group has fallen apart. RW is ahead. A couple others are hanging in off and on. I have been side by side with Brad for a while. I could go faster, but it is way too early to do that. Brad has to use the port-a-potty. I offer to hold the 1:40 sign and keep running as he goes and promises to catch up to me. How exciting! I am now the pacer. I feel a little surge of energy but vow to hold the pace at the 7:33 we have been running. I do catch up to the Rogue Wave and tap her with the sign just to freak her out and show her that I am now in charge. We remember that she had a similar experience at the Tacoma Marathon one year.

Mile 7 - I am glad to pass the sign back to Brad and let him keep track of pacing. RW must be feeling good, she is forging ahead and will leave us in the dust going on to her own PR. I think about trying to keep with her but decide that the PR and the sub 1:40 are my primary goals and that staying with Brad is the smart thing to do.

Mile 8 - Off the paved trail. Around and then into Cheney Stadium. Run around the warning track of this Minor League baseball stadium. See ourselves on the Jumbotron. I love this course. Exit, through the parking lot and back to the paved trail.

Mile 10 - Very steady 7:33 pace the whole way so far. A few small uphill sections and I feel like I am starting to struggle. Now the watch says 7:34 average. Focus on the Target Store logo in the distance. Encouraging words from Brad about how it is only a 5K to go. How fast can I run a 5K? 21:30 on a good day. "Well you only need to run a 24 something to reach your goal time" he says. He also says that I should pick myself up and get moving like Scott Jurek at Badwater.

Mile 10.5 - I hate this little hill out of the trail and onto the road. Steep little bugger. Brad is a little ahead, I just can not keep up. I am next to a woman who has been with me off and on for a long while. I say that we need to pump our arms to get up this thing. I often forget to do that. It really makes a difference. We both pump our way to the top. the whole hill is like 50 feet, but it is always so epic. Because now it is flat and then a huge downhill.

Mile 11 - Make the turn to the downhill and fly down the steep. I have also been off and on with a guy with a green shirt. We joke about how bad this must be for our bodies to go pounding down like this. Soon it is over and now it is flat and gentle downhill the rest of the way.

Mile 12 - Pacer Brad says that we did the last mile in 7:25. I still am not convinced that I will PR. I feel like I could fall apart at any moment and I am afraid to push harder.

Mile 12.5 - Now I know that I will make it. What a terrific feeling.

Mile 12.8 - Brad says that it is time to sprint but I don't. I am afraid that I won't be able to.

Mile 13- Now I go for it and I am surprised at how much speed I still have in me. I should have gone faster earlier and I fly into the finish area. So thrilled to see 1:38 on my watch and know that I could have been even a little faster if I had picked it up earlier.

Mile 13.1 - Fist pumping and just so happy. This is the same finish line as the Tacoma Marathon where I missed a PR by one second back in May. Those last miles had been torture, I cursed at the finish line and then barfed a minute later. Today it is all smiles and feeling great. I get a hat for being one of the top 100 finishers. Recover, check results at the computer station, have a slice of pizza and watch finishers come in. Whatever happens in my running career I will always have this sub 1:40 half. Now if only I could get ino the 1:20s where the fast runners are.....

Next race is the Transcendence 12 hour ultra on 8/14. I will be running a whole lot slower on that day, but hopefully getting a mileage record.

1:38:37 PR

76th place of 826

Race #245 Half Marathon#23