Monday, July 23, 2012

7/21/12 Lakefair Half Marathon

After three years of missing this race in order to be with Jody at Chelanman, I am able to run this year as she is not doing that triathlon.  New this year is a half marathon. I signed up some time ago and with the no T-shirt option the price was more than reasonable.  We will get a nice wooden finisher's medal,along with an accurate and well supported course.  The only problem that I have is that I did the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon just six days ago.  My legs are still shot.  I "ran" two miles on Tuesday.  On Thursday I ran about 4.5 miles but still felt tired legged.  I keep telling myself to just have fun today and not worry about time.  Well I have a streak of sun 1:50 halfs, so I will try to beat that, but who knows how it will go?

Weather is looking very good, cloudy and comfortable.  I got my race number and timing chip yesterday, so I can leave the house this morning after 6AM and still be in downtown Olympia well before the 7AM start.  I like the big local race where I can see so many friends.

Start- On Fifth Avenue.  We start two minutes after 7AM and it is smooth going out.  Turn on Jefferson and begin climbing.  It is not steep but I can feel it in my legs.  I hope that the extra day off yesterday would help, but my legs are still shot.  I can run, fairly quickly, without pain, but I am sore and tired.  Can I go on like this for 13.1 miles?

Mile 1 - Pass Judy Fisher.  I beat her by two minutes at the marathon and I will come in two minutes faster than her today.  That is not to brag.  She is 68 and absolutely amazing.  Finish mile 1 in 7:57 but I am still settling into a decent pace.

Mile 2 - Paved bike trail that parallels I-5 and takes us across Jefferson.  Nice route that I have not run on.  First water station has large cups that are totally full.  I go to grab one off the table and drop it because I did not expect it to be so heavy.  Not many cups or helpers either, I hope that it is not swamped with all the runners just behind me.  The race was capped at 350 registrants and I think that was a good idea.

Mile 3 to 7 - Steady 8:04 pace.  Every once in a while I get the feeling that my legs will buckle under me and I will fall to the ground.  Other than that I am having fun.  Now we are on the paved Woodland Trail.  I have run here often and I am very familiar with the rest of this course.  Plenty of room to run, great volunteers at the couple of road crossings and at the water stations.  Fun to see Rich and Phil.  Chehalis Western Trail has a nice gentle downhill and I have run here so often.  I pass a couple of people, but also get passed.  If I can hold this pace the rest of the way I will be happy.

Mile 7-11 - On 36th street now.  Little traffic and cars will not be an issue.  I can hear footsteps behind me, catching up.  Now they get louder.  Now ridiculously loud.  Someone is stomping their feet at my heels and it can only be Martinho.  He finally comes up next to me and I laugh.  I figure that he will move on ahead but he stays with me.  Warming up now.  At one aid station I want to dump a little water on my head but they only have gatorade.  Small uphill before Priest Point Park and that does me in.  I can not help but slow now.  Martinho goes ahead and I simply can not keep up.

Mile 11-13.1 - Very short section of dirt trail, then the road in the park.  Over the bridge and down and around to East Bay Drive.  It is all familiar and a gentle downhill for most of it.  I am slowing but will get under 1:50 for sure.  I get passed by a couple of guys and only catch one myself.  Happy to see the finish and I cruise on in with what energy my legs can muster.

Overall I had fun and I am glad that I raced today.  Running on tired legs is difficult and a drag at times.  My legs never buckled and it was probably good training for something but I wish that I could have run on fresh legs.  I love the Tunnel and I love Lakefair so I will continue to do both races, sacrificing a speedy time for a fun time.

Now I can rest up a bit as my next race is not for three weeks. 

58th of 303 finishers
Race #275 , half marathon#26

Monday, July 16, 2012

7/15/12 Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

So I proclaimed that my new goal is to make the May 2013 Tacoma City Marathon my 100th marathon or ultra.  I started planning out a schedule and then was not able to race the first one that I had planned.  I was too sick with a bad cold to run the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon.  Feeling much better now, but it has been six weeks since any run longer than 10 miles.  I won't be surprised if I have lost some endurance and hit the wall early today.

Last year I ran this race in 4:05.  I was on a good pace but just melted in the heat.  Now we have had a warm streak and I have been running in the afternoons trying to get heat acclimated.  But here on race day it is cool and misty.  We will have fog and some drizzle.  I will wear my long sleeve shirt through the tunnel, planning to leave it in the drop bag just outside of the tunnel.

Maniac Central.  Plus people are traveling to this race now from across the country.  It sold out early and I am lucky to be here.  I get to the parking lot plenty early and catch one of the first buses.  Nice time milling about, getting my chip and number and visiting with friends.  I share a common bond with so many Maniacs, it means a lot to me to see these guys.  Maybe it is just a quick hello today, or even a wave across the crowd, but I am warmed by the friendship.

Start - Right on time and a smooth start.  Quick out and back and then into the tunnel.

Mile 0.4 - I can feel the cool air coming out of the tunnel as we run in.  Now for about 2.4 miles of dark, cool, dampness.  Knucklelights work well.  The whole path is runnable, but the center part is really smooth.  I stay there, mostly behind a few guys and let others pass on the sides if they want.  Maniac Tracy finds me.  She says that she recognized my calfs.  She will go on ahead, I will pass her at about mile 15.  Then she will pass me at about mile 24 and beat me by a minute.  Fun to have another runner friend who is right at my level.  Small light at the end of the tunnel slowly gets bigger.  I like it better in here than I remember from previous years.  Still it is good to get out and have some light.

Mile 2.7 - I decide to keep the long sleeves on.  We are in a fog.  My watch snaps in and at mile marker 3 it reads 3.00.  My pace is slower than I thought however.  9:24/mile.  I need 9:10 to beat 4 hours.  I go a little faster and very gradually make up the time and get into a comfortable pace.

Mile 6 - Been passing a few people but now I have settled into a steady pace that I would like to hold.  Two non Maniacs (Ally and Sam) are chatting, seem to be having fun and running just ahead of me.  I join them for the next 6 miles or so and then off and on till the finish.  Sam is trying to BQ and needs a sub 4.  Ally would also like to run sub 4, this her second marathon.  I have reached the point where 3:59 is terrific and 4:00 is disappointing so we make good company.  I need to work on my over 4 attitude, but that 4 hour mark really stands out for me as an indication of a good run.

Mile 13.1 - 1:56.  Feeling very good and running even paces.  A little warm but I keep the shirt on.  I also have the fuel belt that I hate, but I am afraid that I will want some drink at a point between the aid stations.  The last aid station is 3.1 miles from the finish and I will make sure that I have something in the bottle to last me.  So I take a cup at most aid stations, skip a few and slowly work on the fluid that I carry.  One gu at mile 4.

Mile 15 - Catch up to Maniac KP.  She ran a tough 23 miles or so just two days ago but looks strong today. Nice company for a couple of miles.

Mile 18 - Legs are starting to tighten up in some way.  Also starting to feel the gravel under my feet.  Three miles to the turn, then five more after the turn.  I expect to hit the wall soon and with the tight legs I am slowing but not by much.  Catch up to Judy Fisher!  We run together a bit.  All race everyone has been pleasant and a nice distraction from the miles.  No one has talked too much or taken themselves too seriously.  Drizzle now but still very scenic.  Judy and I run together off and on till about mile 22.  I thought that I had left Ally back there but now she zooms past feeling great and will get that sub 4.

Mile 21 - Navigate the turns and still running OK.  I can slow to 10 minute miles and still beat 4 hours if I need to.  I have the energy to run a little faster but my legs are stiff and don't like going so fast.

Mile 23 - Still running.  Tell those around that all we need to do is not take walk breaks and we will have a sub 4.  Sam I had left behind many miles back, but now she passes me and I am happy to see that.  She will go on and get that BQ.

Mile 24 - Very short walk break.  I could push extra hard now and maybe lower my time by a minute or two, but I do not feel like struggling so much.  So happy that this will be remembered as a "comfortable" run with a decent finish time.  Rachel and Melinda go blazing past me.  I do not try to keep up.

Mile 26.2 - Sprint to the finish. 26.37 on the GPS.  Recover, watch a few runners come in and then the longish walk to the parking lot.  I love this race and will do my best to get in next year. 

Next up - This Saturday is the Lakefair Half Marathon.  I will probably be on the slow side, but it should be fun.

146th place of 350 finishers
Race#274, Marathon or Ultra#86, Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon #3