Monday, October 1, 2012

9/30/12 Bellingham Bay Marathon

6th annual event and my 6th time here.  If I finish today I will be one of only 4 people who have run the full marathon every year.  Last year I tried to run fast and I paid the price in the second half.  This year I will aim for a comfortable 4:15 and speed up late in the race if possible.  My mileage is down, my plantar has been acting up and most of my running lately has been slow and on trails.

In my opinion, this is the best marathon out there.  Every year I rave about it.  Awesome enthusiastic volunteers, comfortable heated waiting area, beautiful course.  425 in the full but after we merge with the half it will become a big event.  And today we get fantastic weather.  Sunshine and no wind.  A little chilly at the start and I will be warm during the last miles, but not too hot.

Start - Nice to sit in the community hall and chat with fellow Maniacs.  Welcome with drums from the Lummi Nation.  Ten minutes before the start we amble off to the start line.  Chip timed, smooth start.

Mile 2 - Holding back and feeling fine.  Very slowly gain on Keith Woods.  He will finish not far behind me, and he is 83 years old!

Mile 4 - How organized is this?  Volunteer tell us that an aid station is just ahead, around the corner, water will be first, followed by Nuun.  Later aid stations will have Hammer Gel far enough ahead of the water so that I can down it and then get a drink.  Plenty of volunteers at each station, even after we merge with the larger half.

Mile 6 - Running mostly alone.  Holding back.  Nice course along the Bay.  Sasquatch sighting.  I give him a high five.

Mile 13.1 - 2:05, on pace for a 4:10 finish.  Starting to tire just a bit though.  I hook up with three others and we have a nice conversation that gets us to the merge.  Up a large hill.  Feet are feeling the road.  Both legs are starting to tighten up.  I have not done enough pavement running lately and will pay the price.

Mile 15 - I have been really looking forward to merge with the half and here it is.  Over 2,000 runners streaming toward us.  They are going just about the same as my slowing pace.  Our little marathon pack gets split up and we lose each other in the crowd. 

Mile 18 - Have to dodge around groups of 4 or 5 that are running side by side together, but overall I am keeping pace with most of the halfers. 

Mile 20 - Walk breaks start.  It has gradually gotten tougher to keep going, even though I am just shuffling along.  I have hit the wall now, but it was a gradual wall rather than a sudden event.  Actually I can speed up if I want, but then my legs start hurting.

Mile 24 - Lots of short walk breaks.  Halfers mostly passing me, but I am sticking near a few other strugglers.  Much harder than I expected.  Maniac Betsy comes zooming past me.  I have been thinking that I should be able to beat 4:30 and I will work toward that.  So I just keep plodding along, working hard but not an all out effort.  Saving something for next week hopefully.

Mile 26.2 - Perk up for the finish.  Happy to be done and happy that I did race today and was able to complete.  It is a shame that I was not in better shape, but I will not dwell on the negatives.  I will see what I can do to come back faster next year.  In the mean time, marathon #90 is done and it was a beautiful Fall day, at a terrific event.

251st place of 425
Marathon or ultra #90
Race #281

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