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

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