Monday, November 28, 2011

11/27/11 Seattle Marathon

My fourth time at the Seattle Marathon.  Looks like it will be the worst one yet as far as weather.  Rain and wind are predicted.  I am pleased to see that it is not raining as I begin the walk to the start line.  We stayed at BKs condo and it is about a mile and a half to the start line at the Seattle Center.  I take my time walking and pause to watch the early starters go by.  Hard to get a GPS signal with all the tall buildings.  Still trying to get a signal, I meander through a parking lot and along the street edge I find a $20 bill.  My lucky day, or was that it for luck for this day?  It starts to drizzle as I watch the half marathoners go by and then get ready for my race.

Start - Line up with Evil Triplet Ron and Maniac Jessica.  Some of my other usual running mates are running their 4th marathon in 4 days and will start farther back.  A couple of them will go on to pass me later in the race.  It is raining now and I have a trash bag over my jacket. Not too cold but it will be wet all day today.  Start right on time and I negotiate the crowds well.

Mile 4 - Into the I-90 express lanes bus tunnel.  Trash bag comes off and into my pocket. 

Mile 6 - Out of the tunnel, then on the long bridge over Lake Washington.  The wind is at our back and it is easy to keep pace.  I stop to tie my shoes and then head back across the lake, into the wind.  I catch up to two guys and draft them a little.  Soon I realize that one of them is Maniac Ken who I have run with at many races.  I feel like I should not draft on him so I ease up next to him.  We commiserate about the weather.  Although it is not hard to keep a steady pace, I know that this wind and rain are taking a toll and that I will probably be forced to slow down later.  Takao Suzuki is there to take a picture.  Thanks Takao.  Together Ken and I make it over the bridge and then I go ahead, expecting Ken to pass me later.

Mile 8.5 - Still running into the wind a little but not as bad.  Steady rain and some puddles to dodge.  A crow walks onto the course, picks up and empty gel pack and walks off to the side of the road.  Bob Dolphin sighting.

Mile 13.1 - I hit the halfway mark at 1:58 about a minute faster than I had planned. I take a little walk break just before the timing mat and then reset my watch.  Now I will try to go just a little faster to put a little time in the bank before the hills.  I feel pretty good and hope that the feeling stays for a while.

Mile 15 - Catch up to Maniac Jeff.  Run with him for a mile or so and then decide to go just a little faster.

Mile 19 - I forgot about that hill.  Tiring a little.  Right foot is aching some.  Doing OK though.  Less windy here, but still a steady rain.

Mile 20.5 - The left turn and instant steep hill.  Just like last year my calves start to tighten up.  Also my left quadricep which has never given me any trouble starts to present itself.  I am running but going at the same pace as two people who are walking.  At least it is a short hill, but next is a longer one that is less steep. 

Mile 22 - A little bit of foot pain, a little bit of overall leg tightening, a little bit of lightheadedness and a little bit of nausea. I find this low slow gear and I can trudge along.  I am able to pick up the pace any time I want, but then one of my symptoms tells me to slow down.  I am passing quite a few people who are hobbling with cramps of some kind and I wonder if this cold weather has something to do with it.  So I continue to pass walkers and limpers but many of the runners are passing me because I am going so slow.  I just do not have the willpower to tough it out today.  The 4 hour pace team passes me and when I realize that I will not make that time goal I really lose motivation.  But I am still having fun.  Joke with spectators and commiserate with fellow sufferers.  I will finish and it won't be a horrible finish time, but definitely an off day.  I wonder how much I can blame on the weather?  Maybe a 5 minute penalty and then my lack of determination will cost me another 5 minutes.

Mile 24.5 - So Happy to see the Space Needle in the distance, not so much farther to go.  But now crossing I-5 the wind has picked up again.  My hands start to get cold.  I put on my soggy gloves that I had taken off miles ago and that helps the chill.  Then the steep downhill and on to the finish.

Mile 26.2 - Finish and get my medal from Maniac Betsy.  Glad to have brought dry clothes to change into.  In the warm recovery area the chill soon goes away.  This was a tough one for me, but I managed to keep a happy attitude and enjoyed the time out there.

812th place of 2047
Marathon or Ultra #75
Seattle Marathon#4


Saturday, November 12, 2011

11/12/11 Club Oly Tis the Season for a 5K at Millersylvania State Park

My 4th time for this 5K on this wonderful trail through old growth forest.  Nice to have Jody join me for this run through the woods.  23 runners is about double who came last year and also double the number at the first event in the series.  The guy who won the first race in the series is not here, putting me in the top spot to win the series and get a free pair of shoes.  Martinho came in just behind me at Pioneer park and he is here today, so I can not let up.  Feeling good after the marathon of six days ago.  Nice two mile warm up.  It is cold but not windy or wet.  Some mud on the trail but not bad at all.

Start - After the usual long course description by Rich we finally get going.  I purposely start towards the back.  There is a group from Shelton here and two cross country runners from Adna.  Across the bumpy field and onto the trail.  I get moving well, but not quite as fast as I often do at these short races.  Pass a couple of people including Martinho.  Short out and back and I get to see the fast runners.  Then I turn around and get to see Jody.

Mile 1 - Turn onto a muddier trail with lots of curves, and bumps to watch for.  Stalk and then pass Heather.  I pass her and another person where the trail is still wide, but now we are approaching the narrow section where it would be very difficult to pass.  I can ease up just a little bit here and then make the turn back onto the field completing the first loop.

Mile 2 - Back down the road, then the trail.  I can hear breathing behind me.  I am afraid that it is either Bill or Martinho, the only two runners in this race that I would prefer to beat.  Don't look back.  Try some surges on the muddy trail, feel like I should be breaking away but I just can not leave them behind.  Quick peek back at a turn but I can not tell who it is.  Now at the narrow part.  I must trust my kick and hope that when the path opens up, and then the field, I will be able to out sprint him, whoever it is.  I make the turn down the road and let it fly as best I can.  Still ahead of him. 

Mile 3 - Now turn for the short bit on the field and immediately Martinho and Wade leave me in the dust.  Disappointing but also amazed at both of their finishing kicks. 

Mile 3.1 - 3.08 on the GPS.  Finish as best I can.  Happy with my time, eleven seconds faster than last year.  I learn that the series is based on cumulative time.  I beat Martinho by 43 seconds in the first race (because he took a wrong turn) and he beat me by about 7 seconds today (have to verify that when results are published.  That gives me about a 36 second lead for race number 3.  December 10th, back at Pioneer Park.  In the meantime I plan to run the Seattle Marathon on November 27.

10th of 23
Race #255, 5K #66

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11/6/11 Bass Pro Shops Conservation Marathon

Jody suggested that I visit Caleb at College (Evangel University) and I suggested that I do so when there was a marathon in town too.  So here I am in Springfield Missouri.  Its going to be the 7th state in which I have run a marathon.  Bass Pro Shops is the world's largest sporting goods store.  My hotel is just across the street, but packet pick up is on the other side of the building and it is a long walk to get there.  Very nice long sleeve technical fabric shirt.  Just before bedtime I realize that I forgot my S!Caps electrolytes that I have taken in each of my last 50 or so marathons or ultras.  I'll try to drink more Poweraid and less plain water and hope for the best.  Would be great to beat 4 hours, but I am not going to stress about it.

Very windy and cool, but it is dry.  I will wear my jacket over a short sleeve shirt.  Tomorrow at this time it will be raining steady and I will be grateful for today's weather.  But this wind is strong and will probably slow me down.  Chat with a guy from Connecticut who I had sat next to on a bus some time ago at a previous race.  Other than that I do not know anybody here.  I line up with a Maniac, Tim from Wisconsin, and its nice to talk before the start.

Start - Frank Shorter says something.  Moment of prayer.  National Anthem by some country singers.  Start is delayed by five minutes.  The start is to be aired on the local news station at 7AM sharp but we get bumped to second story because of an earthquake in Oklahoma.  Soon enough we are off.  1,200 in the Half Marathon and 274 in the full.

Mile 1 - The Halfers split off and now there is plenty of room to run.  Nice to have the big festive start, but I prefer a smaller race.  This works out well.  Course is on roads, then a short bit on a paved trail, then all roads.  Not the roads I had driven on yesterday though.  I was not impressed with what I had seen of Springfield so far.  Just big busy roads with a tremendous number of fast food joints, and little city character.  But this course will show me much more of the town.  Mostly residential, but a pretty course.  Lots and lots of turns.  Well staffed with volunteers at almost every turn and road crossing.  Green arrows on the ground at each turn.

Miles 3 to 8 - Much hillier than I expected.  I feel good but not great.  Jacket comes off at mile 4.  I pass an older guy, later found out that he is 68.  We will go back and forth all race long.  He will draft off of me a few times when we are heading straight into the wind, but ask if I mind and I do not.  In the last mile he will pass me for good and beat me by less than a minute.

Mile 10 to 13 - More residential roads but flatter.  Some roads are open to traffic, maybe just in one direction.  The cars are not a problem, but I am not sure if it is OK for me to be running the tangents.  I will do so, but carefully.  Running is easier now, I am feeling very good, chatting a bit with two others.  Giant green mile markers can not be missed.  Well stocked aid stations with plenty of volunteers directly after each even mile marker.  A kid at the mile 12 aid station offers me a pack of peanut butter crackers.  Remembering my lack of salt intake, I take the pack and munch on two crackers over the next two miles. 

Mile 13.1 - Eight seconds faster than my planned 1:58.  In Victoria I ran a 1:59 first half and managed a negative split, so I decided to run a 1:58 first half today and see if I can still run a faster second half.  Now I set off just a little bit faster and leave the two other runners behind.

Mile 14 to 18 - Feeling great.  Still holding back and I have only increased my pace slightly, just hoping that it will last.  It is still early in this race.  Gradually passing people, but no one is passing me.  Looking forward to the mile markers, especially the even ones where I can walk through the aid station, get a drink, and also pour a little water on my head to help cool off.

Mile 18 - Marker is there, but where is the aid?  I start to fret and feel thirsty.  A couple more turns and there it is at about mile 18.5.

Mile 21 - Now I am starting to slow.  No nausea and my head feels OK, but I am tiring.  Slow the pace for a bit as I regroup.  Now make an effort to speed up a little and I am able to do so.  Get a bit of a second wind, then turn into the wind.

Mile 22 - Wind is as strong here as it has been all day.  Not nearly as bad as at Bellingham in September, but strong enough that I have a good excuse if my finish time is not what I had hoped for.

Mile 23 - Turn so the wind is crosswise and now the longest straight stretch of the course.  I like being able to look far ahead and see a traffic light that I can focus on.  Feel like walking, but I know that I won't beat 4 hours if I do.  Soon I am confident that I will beat 4 and I might even get another 3:56 if I can hold on.

Mile 25 - Bald Eagle.  It is the conservation marathon and there have been a few stuffed deer along the way.  The eagle is live and tethered to its keeper, so not quite as cool as the wild one that flew over my head at NODM two years ago.  The race has been getting more and more difficult, but gradually so.  No sudden wall, but eventually I realize that I am in tatters.  This close to the end I should be able to rally and run strong to the finish, but I really lose it at about mile 25.5.  Get passed by three or four people who I had just passed.

Mile 26 - Giant sign is sure welcoming.  I see 3:56 slip away but I am pleased with my performance today.  I will be 6th out of 20 in my age group and 71st overall which is a better position than usual.  I slog it in for a "sprint" to the finish, my named called by the announcer. 26.26 on the GPS.  Huge medal with an elk on it and a space blanket which is helpful in the cool wind and I am wet from dousing myself with water. Tons of post race food.  I take as much as I can carry on the long walk back to the hotel.  Soon I meet up with Caleb and we go off to explore the Fantastic Caverns.

71st of 274
Marathon or Ultra#74