Third annual event and my third time here. I did not think that I would want to race today, it is my 23rd wedding anniversary. But when Jody decided that this was the best time for her to have a vacation in Japan.....transcendence here I come.
The good: so close to home, 1.5 mile loops means no carrying aid and no getting lost, great organization as usual from Guerrilla Running and an amazing number of Maniac friends here today. The multiple loops means that I should be able to see and run with many friends.
The bad: 1.5 mile loop around Capitol Lake. I ran 38 loops last year and that event along with the previous year has done something to my mind. This is a local hot spot for the running clubs and generally a nice place to run, but I start to shudder every time I drive by this place.
The history: The first year was extremely hot. I ran 33.5 miles, a distance record for me. I quit after about 6 hours due to the heat, but had fun. Last year the weather was much better. I ran 57.9 miles, my current record, in 11 hours 42 minutes. Last year I ran about 10 minutes per mile for the first 6 hours and then dropped to 14 minutes per mile for the second half. I had OK energy at times but had pain up my right leg that was much better during walk breaks. Late in the race I was able to run better while on the crushed gravel than on the pavement.
The plan: I must start slow. Repeat: I must start slow. Yes it will be cooler in the early hours, but running faster early on is not the strategy that I will take today. I will try my best to keep the average pace between 10:30 and 11:00 per mile for at least the first 5 hours. Hopefully then I can maintain that pace for a longer time. I had a 12/mile average last year and quit with 18 minutes to spare. If I can run a little faster average pace and squeeze in an extra lap, that will be a new record for me. If everything goes very well and I do three more laps that last year, then I will have 62.4 miles which would be 100K.
But then came the weather forecast. Its going to be a hot one. Maybe not as hot as the first year but still very warm. In fact it will peak at 89 degrees in Olympia. That is the same temperature as the Boston Marathon reached, but today I will try to run for 7 more hours than at that race. The unshaded back half of the course will seem much hotter than the front half.
0-26 miles - I do well to keep a nice slow pace. Mostly on my own until mile 13. The the Rogue Wave joins me for ten miles. She is not my pacer, just doing her own run before volunteering here, but we do run together. I hold about a 10:35 pace, taking walk breaks any time that my pace approaches 10:30. This course is so boring, all of the loops just merge together in my mind.
26.2-31.1 - Reach the marathon distance in about 4:50, about the same as my Boston time. It is really hot now. I have been putting ice cubes under my hat, but now Joe gives me a small Ziploc bag full of ice. I can position that on my head and hold it in place with my hat and it is oh so nice. It must have a small leak because a little drip of cool water keeps running down here and there. It melts away by the end of each loop, where I can fill it with fresh cubes at the aid station. I try to not linger at the aid station but I always get ice and have something to drink. About every third time I stop at my supplies (cooler, chair and stuff) for one reason or another. At about mile 29 I am hurrying to make a quick stop at my place when I smack my left shin into a metal picnic table seat. I am tripping and almost falling on my face. Balancing on my right leg as my left shin is screaming at me I manage to not fall over. Surprisingly with all the people around, I do not think that anyone saw my crazy moment. Sunscreen refreshed and I am on my way. Although the lake is fetid and nasty, at one one of these loops I stop for a moment to get a great look at two otters splashing around.
31.1 to 40 - Nice to have the 50K done. Quite a few Manics will quit here since they got the required distance in to count for Maniac stats. I decide to change my shoes and keep going. I have never done that in a race before and hope that it will give me a lift. I have been slowing. The new shoes are a little roomier and feel nice, but do not make me any faster. My pace is slowing with the heat. Although I am better heat acclimated that in previous Summers, I am still afraid of pushing it in the super warm weather. I just do not want to be that guy that collapses and no finish time or place is worth the risk to me. At one point I get just a little fuzzy with the heat. It is near the end of the loop, so I walk it in and sit for a while.(thanks Riki for looking out for me and for the lemon bar!) Most of this section is a blur. Running mostly alone. What I remember is that Ginger had just passed me and then Jeff was helping her with ice and they spilled a bunch of ice cubes on the ground in the "oven" section of dusty gravel. The next time I came around the ice was melted. The next time around the damp spot was starting to dry. The next time it was almost gone, then I could not see it anymore. That was the highlight of that two hours.
40 to 51.8 - At times I feel like I am the last one still running. I will never beat last year's distance so how far should I go? Then I see a pack of runners or see that Craig has updated the leader board and I remember that this is a race. I catch up to Marie and correctly guess that this is the final loop that she needs to do to complete 50K, which will give her 100 lifetime marathons or ultras. I walk the second half of the loop and exchange a high five when she crosses the line. She is not done yet and I decide that I am not either. There is plenty of time left and my legs feel fine (feet are getting a little beat up) and I have good energy. I should be able to reach 50 miles. That loop will end at 50.2, so if I make it that will be my second farthest ever run. Maybe it is getting a little cooler. Ginger catches me and I am able to pick up the pace and stay with her for a short while. She will go on to win the women's race and set a course record of 67 miles. Counting down the laps now and in no hurry. I am able to chat with more runners than I had previously. Meet someone new, check in with old friends. Encourage Katie who is a lap behind me and trying to get to 50 miles. She is going to have to work hard to get there, while I stroll along, but she does it! I reach 50.2 miles a little after 11 hours. Some runners will stop here as it is a nice round number. I have plenty of time, so I add one more lap, to finish at a slightly higher place. At 11:33 I cross the line and call it quits. I see no reason and no one can talk me into going for just one more.
I have 30 minutes to recover and relax before dinner is served. Nice awards ceremony and I am surprised to see that I was the 2nd male masters runner and came in first in my age group. Slow persistence paid off I guess. I ended with over a 13min/mile pace and I second guess my strategy. Maybe next year I will go out faster and see what happens.
51.8 miles, 11 hours 33 minutes, 44 seconds
9th of 80
Race #277, 87th marathon or ultra, 3rd T12