Monday, December 23, 2013

12/21/13 Pigtails Flat Ass Marathon

8th annual event.  My 5th time here, plus I volunteered last year.  Volunteering is a good thing to do, especially when injured. Volunteering can be fun, but I am so happy to be running this year.

Commemorative head band to go with my Pigtails beanie, arm warmers and gloves.

Small race but filled with my Maniac friends.

Start -A little slush on the trail for the first part.  It will stay above freezing all day, but feel cold.  The crowded half mile out and half mile back has people sploshing slush around and my feet get a little wet.

Mile 1 - Now on to the real trail.  Room to run and my feet will dry out.  It takes me a while to get up to a 10 minute per mile pace, where I want to stay for at least the first half.  Frequent walk breaks and an easy pace, but it does not seem too slow.  Bald eagle sighting.....3rd time in the past 4 marathons.

Mile 6 - First aid station.  Catch up to Ashley.  I had told her to go ahead as I was serious about going slow from the start.  She also is wanting to take it easy so we fall in together.  Just like old times on this course.  We ran our first 50K here five years ago. Nice to talk for a while and then we slip into that comfortable silence that makes running with her so nice.  Heavy fog.  We are going faster than my plan but not by much and it is worth it even if I slow later. 

Mile 13.1 - 2:08 on the watch.  A little farther to the turn around.  Ron, Andy, Susie, Mike, Kim, Mike M, Bill, Ted, Sabrina and others are all fairly close but ahead of me.  Some of them are doing the 50K and will turn off the marathon course later.  The fog has turned to drizzle.

Mile 14 - The plan has been to try to negative split.  So I start going a little faster.  My last marathon I went easy the whole way.  Today I want to work hard for my medal.  I don't care so much about finish time, but I do want to give it a good effort.  I pull away from Ashley and gradually pick off the runners ahead of me.

Mile 16 - I catch up to one guy that I have not met before.  His name is Andrew and he is running his first 50K.  I don't know how he heard about this race, he is only vaguely aware of the Marathon Maniacs club.  We run together for a while and it is nice to grind out the late middle miles with him.

Mile 21 - Happy to see that aid station.  Quick stop and on I go.  I think that I will push on for two miles and then take a walk break.

Mile 21.2 - Argh!  I am walking and had not even told myself to do so.  Sudden and harsh wall.

Mile 23 - Stiffening legs, some nausea, and just plain out of energy.  Walk, shuffle, run, repeat.  Get passed by many of those I passed earlier.

Mile 24 - Ron catches me.  I am really struggling.  I joke about dropping out and I think it is funny because the shortest way out of here is to keep going on this trail. Pigtails would make me walk it out anyway.  No I am not serious about dropping.  I will finish with a smile.  I wanted it to be hard and that is what I got.  Looks like I can beat 4:30.

Mile 25 - Start looking back for Ashley.  It would be so typical for her to pass me in the end.  Alas she is having her own issues and won't quite get up to me.  I shuffle on to the end.

Mile 26.2 - 26.2 on the GPS.  Got in under 4:30.  Get my medal from Ray.  Change into dry but cold clothes.  Hot cider hits the spot.  Watch some runners come in.  Robert gets his sub 5 hr 50K.  Others are not so happy with their finish times, but we all seemed to enjoy the day.  Long run on the shortest day of the year.

21st of 52
Race #313, Marathon or ultra #104, Pigtails Flat Ass #5

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12/7/13 Saint Martins Jingle Bell Run 5K

I have run three races on the Saint Martins University campus, but they were small events and the last one I did was in 2006.  Last year this holiday race was started and I decided to join in the fun this year.  Pricey but we get a long sleeved T-shirt and chip (bib) timing.  Also much appreciated is the warm university gym/staging and finish area, directly next to the start/finish.  Plenty of room inside for the large number of participants.The course is two loops of 1.55 miles.  There is also a 1.55 mile walk that will start 30 minutes before the 5K race.

It is about 22 degrees and sunny.  I decide to warm up with a lap around the course.  Gelid looking volunteers are huddled together at each turn, ready to direct the walkers who will start soon.  After a half mile, I feel colder than when I started.  I have a head band around my neck and I use it to cover my nose and mouth which helps.  Now the course takes an unexpected turn onto some gravel.  This is different from how we did it in 06 and I am glad that I am doing this warm up lap.  Next it is on to a frozen field.  It is very uneven and I twist my ankle a little.  Off the field, up a wide dirt and gravel road and down a rocky path.  Then a narrow trail, out to the parking lot and a quarter mile to the finish.  With the cold and this route, I push my expectations back.  Anything under 23 minutes will be very good.

Start - With the 577 runners, and narrow course, I want to start near the front.  Five minutes to the start I am near where I want to be, but hundreds are streaming out of the gym and coming toward me.  The timing mat is still recording 1.55 miler finishers so we have to leave room for then.  Finally we are told to line up in front of the mat.  I make sure that James, Craig, Jesse, and other fast looking people are ahead of me.  We are crammed in to the start area and I am more than ready to get going when we are set off.

Mile 0.05 - Smooth enough start. As soon as we get through the balloon start/finish structure we have the other half of the road to use as well.  But somehow I am now behind four young women who are running OK, but not as fast as I would like to be going.  And they are close and side by side.  I am feeling very impatient but wait for an opportunity to get past them.  Now it is a clear path ahead.

Mile 0.5 - After previewing the course I knew that I should make the most of the pavement and be more careful on the gravel and especially the field.  I am going faster than I should, but I will relax soon on the trail.  Some one is wearing a winter hat that looks like a cupcake.

Mile 1.55 - A cold first lap but I am starting to warm up.  Pleased to see the finish clock has just hit 11:00.  I am sure that I will slow on the second lap, but sub 23 should happen.  I proceed past the finish, away from the mat as instructed and continue on to loop 2.

Mile 2.5 - After the initial sorting out, there has not been much passing or being passed.  I do catch a girl, run with her a bit then challenge her to catch me.  Pass the last place person, who is on her first lap.  Soon there will be more.  Only one person will pass me now.  I sense her coming on strong.  A look over and I can hardly believe it.  Jenny, who I only know a little, but is a very fast runner.  When I saw her before the race I did not think that she was running today.  She has a big baby belly and is due in three weeks.  Here at mile 2.5 she is all smiles, feeling great and leaving me in the frost.  I tell her to be careful on the grass and I feel a little worried for her, but I also pick up the pace and try to stay with her.  Alas she is just too strong.  Up the dirt road she gets out of reach.  Both of us are now negotiating around the slower runners.  I have to pass 8 reindeer and Santa in a wheel chair. Other clumps of walkers and slower runners all the way to the end.

Mile 2.9 - Off the narrow trail, where slower runners did stay on one side, and on to the parking lot.  Turn and sprint to the end.

Finish - 3.11 on the GPS a spot on 5K distance.  22:37 on my watch.  Same time as two weeks ago on a slightly shorter and faster course.  And with this weather I am very pleased.  Everything feels good these days, no injuries at all to report and I am so happy for that.

Inside for refreshments and music by a brass quartet.  Computers are set up to view results.  They have me at 12 minutes something and a sub 4 minute mile.  Still only good for 4th place overall.  I tell the timing person who thinks that my chip must have registered at the end of the first lap.  That would make sense if the time was right at 11 minutes.  He then learns that many runners need to have the first lap "filtered out" and I can see that this will take him some time.  I have things to do so I leave before the awards ceremony, as I suspect that might be a while.  Checking the results later on the web site, I have been corrected to a 23:20 and 46th place.  I am going to trust my watch on this one, and assuming that all the other times are correct, I should be in 39th place.  Still just out of the top three for my 40-49 age group, so whatever they have me at does not matter.  Except that when I do pay this much for a race, I expect accurate results.

I missed the Club Oly trail race today and I won't do the Reindeer Run tomorrow, so it is difficult to say for sure that I will come back next year.  Great way to spend a cold morning though.

39th of 577
Race# 312, 5K#84

Monday, November 25, 2013

11/23/13 One Last Point 5k! Run/Walk

The name of this race needs some explaining.  The Pints Pavement Pounders Running Club (P3) has been very successful since being established here a few years ago. ( ) .  They get quite a turn out for their weekly runs.  Members earn points by group running and by running races.  So many points earns you a club shirt and I have been seeing more and more of these shirts at the races.  The club takes a break in the winter and some folks were so close to earning their shirts.  Terra decided to host a race so that they could earn a point before the season is over.  Since I am on the "need people less" end of the spectrum, a weeknight group run followed by beer does not really appeal to me so much.  But call something a race, have it on a Saturday, and I am likely to be there. 

Cold morning at Marathon Park in Olympia.  Thick frost on the wooden bridge could be icy.  I do a mile warm up.  I have not been here since the Transcendence 12 hour race and the memories come back.  I'll keep the hat and gloves on but stash the jacket and long pants before the start.  Thirty minutes before the start and Terra is here, offering me a still warm fresh baked muffin.  I had timed my breakfast to be more or less digested before the start, but I can not resist the muffin.  With the cold weather, somewhat tired legs from workouts this week, and now a muffin in me, I don't expect to be so speedy today.  I get my number and continue to warm up, gradually picking up the pace before the start.

Start - 40 people in the run. I know at least a dozen of them and it is nice to see them.  Ron ran here from his house, three miles away.  Joe put in 7 miles before getting here.  I may be the only one who came here to actually race and/or run hard.  Martinho is here and we elbow each other at the start line like we always do.  He can beat me if he wants, but when we go out he says something about saving himself for a race on Thursday.  Everyone falls back and I am in front.

Mile 0.25 - Since September I have run quite a few small races and each time I have looked at the competition and wondered if just maybe I could beat them.  I am very used to seeing a couple of people ahead of me and one or two rabbits string out way in front with no chance of me getting them.  At this point in the race I usually focus on someone ahead and gradually try to catch up, while listening for footsteps behind me.  This is different today.  I am in front and I do not sense anyone right behind me.  Strange.

Mile 1 - 7:09 - Decent pace.  I will slow down on the second lap I am sure.  And I expect Martinho to come roaring up to me at any time.  There is a guy, not in the race, running around the lake in the opposite direction and I am sure that he is going faster than me.  No wind but it is quite cold.  A few walkers with dogs but it is not hard to navigate around them.

Mile 1.55 - First loop done.  There is a sharp right turn here and I can not help but look back.  No one behind me, but as I turn my head back I catch a flash of neon that could be a racer not so far back.  I have won two races previously, both somewhat dubious achievements.  The last time was ten years ago at a Bob Green "Odd Distance Race".  Multiple races started at the same time, so I did not know who all was in my race.  One guy was dogging me and at the turn around of the 8 mile race he was feeling so good he decided to upgrade to the 11 mile race.  Two starters, I was the lone finisher.  In 1998 I won the Melody Miles fiasco race.  Multiple issues with that one, including having to ask where the finish line was and finding out that I was already past it.  But I did place first of 30 that day.  But what am I doing!  I need to focus on today.  Bring the mind back to this race.  Mild discomfort I acknowledge and push aside.  Keep bringing the mind back to the form and threading the line at a sustainable level of discomfort.

Mile 2 - Another sharp turn and a chance to look a ways back.  Nobody gonna catch me now.  Memories of me watching winners come in and I tell them to relax, enjoy the moment.  I ease up just a little but press on.

Mile 2.5 - That cold spot again.  Right where it is hottest in the T12.  Jody is meeting Niki here at 9:30AM for their run together.  I hope she is here to see me finish.  But alas I make the final stretch and cruise in without much fanfare.

Mile 3.1 - 3.06 on the GPS.  15 seconds slower than three weeks ago, with a marathon two weeks ago.  Pleased with my time, how well I felt, and that no one faster showed up or tried very hard today.  Nice event RD Terra.  She even had some raffles and coffee with the muffins.  Fun group of people.

1st place of 40
Race#311, 5K#83  Win#3

Saturday, November 9, 2013

11/9/13 First Call Veteran's Day Marathon

9th race in 8 weeks (10 miles, marathon, 5K, 50K, 5K trail, 5K, 5K, 5K, marathon).  After this I will rest.  And today I am not motivated to try to be fast and risk falling apart in the last miles.  I want to take it nice and easy with walk breaks and I am so happy that my third favorite Canadian (after Atsk'ia and Bruce Cockburn), Maniac Tracy is here with the same attitude.

Double out and back on the paved Sammamish River trail that I have described before.  My third time here, but first on Veteran's Day weekend.  Lots of maniac friends, many take the early 7AM start.  50K, half marathon and the full.  Some people running the half and adding extra training miles.  Some arrive late for the early start and take a "medium" start.  One starts, runs for a while, then goes out to do an errand for an hour before coming back to finish.  Maniac Betsy celebrating a special birthday by running her age in miles and running right through our race with her entourage.  All this means is that I will see people all day long and have little idea where they are in the race.

Cold but dry and once we get running it will be fine.  Bathrooms at the park are locked until after the start, but I won't complain since it is a free race (donation funded) with a huge aid station at the start/finish.

Start - Off we go at 8AM.  Immediately there is a bald eagle swooping low over us and landing in a nearby tree.  What a great site.  I will see two more eagles in trees a few miles later.  Tracy and I fall into step with her friend, Maniac Mica.  Now I have a new friend.  We keep it around 10 minute miles, running faster than that, but taking some long walk breaks.  Have to watch for bikes on this trail, and can not always run three together.  But we stay close and it is a nice time.  Tracy ran the NYC marathon six days ago.  She has a new goal, to run her 118th marathon at the 118th Boston Marathon next year.  That sounds like something I would try to do.  Alas, I am looking for a goal.  I have really enjoyed the 5Ks recently and perhaps I won't run so many long races for a while.  I will need to build up the trail and hill work as I plan some good adventures for next Spring.

Mile 6 - Bob Dolphin sighting!

Mile 6.55 - Takao's turn around rainbows.

Mile 13.1 - Mica will run the half today.  Tracy needs to get something from her car.  I grab a big cookie and start the second half by walking.  I tell Tracy to not rush, I will just keep moving and walking.

Mile 14 - Still walking.  I guess that I am walking quickly and I am just beginning to wonder if Tracy will catch up, when she does.  It will be a slower second half, but not because I am tiring.  Just enjoying the day.  We run a few miles and then start catching some of the early starters.  It is fun to see them up ahead and slowly gain on them.  Then we walk or run with them for a while.  First up are Rick and Monte.  They have a very fast walk.  I can not keep up with them if  I walk.  But if I run, I get ahead.  I decide to keep running slowly and when Tracy is done conversing, she catches up to me.

Mile 20 - Run with Betsy's entourage.  There is video of her and you can see me in my Manic Jacket in the background at the start of the clip:

Mile 22 - Chalk writing on the pavement; I am reading it upside down and it says "this got you".  Discouraging words at this point in the race, but then I see it the way it was meant to be read.

Mile 24 - Feet are hurting some.  Legs are a little tight.  Otherwise I feel good and I guess I could pick up the pace if I want to, but I don't.  Tracy and I run a long stretch with no break.  Then we catch up to Marie and Deb.  We run and walk and run with them all the way to the end.

Mile 26.2 - I hit the wrong button on my watch and will have to wait for official finish time. Overall a good day and nice time.

18th place of 35
Race#310, marathon or ultra#103

Sunday, November 3, 2013

11/3/13 Turn Back the Clock 5K

Three years ago I ran the Puddle Jump 10K and the Turn Back the Clock 5K on back to back days.  This year it will be a 5K double.  I decided to enter this race just yesterday afternoon.  It is now organized by Club Oly.  $25 day of race entry is good.  Fundraiser for local track programs.

Weather is colder but much better than yesterday.  Nice turn out with many familiar faces.  I see Rachael and also Mike who were right with me at the Pumpkin Dash last week.  We should all be close again.

I take more time to warm up today, putting in two miles plus some strides.  Soon enough it is time to race.

Start - Lots of fast people here, I line up a few rows back.  It is a wide start line with plenty of room to pass people later.  10K and 5K start together.  Out of the park and on to 45th street.  Traffic cones along the way and police at every intersection.  Feeling good and in the middle of a large pack that is moving quickly.  Ulrike says hi.  Always pleasant to run with her, if only for ten seconds.  She is doing the 10K and just getting up to cruising speed.

Mile 0.5 - With Rachael and now but I feel OK so I push a little harder.  This is how I am going to play this race:  every time I feel good I will put on a little more speed, to get to that uncomfortable/can not quite sustain pace.  Then I ease back just a bit until I am feeling good again.  I tell myself that if I feel good, I am not running hard enough.  The 5K is not meant to be pleasant.

Mile 1.2 - Made the right turn onto the paved trail and now I am racing at the exact place that I was racing yesterday.  I catch up to 9 year old amazing Oliver, who does not want me to get by and puts on his own surge.  I do get by him eventually.  Soon I see a much older (13?) Dylan coming back in about 5th place.  He has been beating me for a couple of years now.  One woman up here, so Rachael will have to settle for second place overall.

Mile 2.5 - Uneventful return trip.  Keep working harder if I feel at all at ease.  The gut is better than yesterday but does seem to be the thing that is holding me back.  Finally now the legs start to tire and my pace slows.  Crossing College Street I can tell the the police are letting traffic through behind me, so I know that no one is very close.  Now I start to wonder if I can beat yesterday's finish time (22:22).

Mile 2.9 (mile 6 of the 10K marker) - Doing the math in my head, I think that I have a chance to beat that time.  No one has passed me since about mile 1.3.

Mile 3.0 - Wow it is going to be close, but I need to get sprinting!  I run as fast as I can, cross the line and stop my watch right at 22:22

Finish - 3.13 on the GPS.  Yesterday's chip time was 22:22.5.  Today is not chip timed, but I did start very near the front.  Rich has me clocked at 22:22.3.  A slightly longer course today (according to my GPS, but both are close enough to be called accurate and today's course is certified).  The better weather, the better sense of competition and a better stomach helped me match yesterday's time.

At the awards I get a first in age group ribbon with a packet of Gu

Next up - First Call Veterans Day Marathon.  Plenty of speed work in the bank, but no run over 7 miles in 4 weeks time.  The 50K from 4 weeks ago will have to do.  I have enjoyed these small short races of late, and if I have taken an endurance hit, I am willing to pay that price.

8th place of 120

Saturday, November 2, 2013

11/2/13 Puddle Jump 5K

I ran the 10K here, the first year they had it, 3 years ago.  The course was a half mile long and there were some other things that I did not care for so I did not rush to come back.  But now I am back, for the 5K and everything will be well organized.

Thankful for the indoor staging area.  It is very stormy out.  Colder than it has been and oh so windy.  Sideways rain off and on.  Fortunately the course is somewhat protected from wind gusts and it will not rain much while we are racing.

Amy is here to defend her title.  Terra shows up at the last minute.  Lonnie is here to run and win the 10K and he says that he will be running the 10K at tomorrow's Turn Back the Clock race.  I tell him that I am not racing tomorrow.

Start - Both races start at the same time.  The course goes about 30 feet before turning onto the paved trail, so it is a little crazy at first.  I yell at Terra to get out of my way....I hope she knows that I am joking.  Plenty of time to settle in to a good pace.

Mile 0.1 - Room to run as I wish.  Fun to see a 0.1 mile marker.  No, there is not one every tenth of a mile.

Mile 1 - 7:03 - faster than last week but it feels sustainable

Turnaround - Amy is first woman.  She will go on to win again.  Terra is right behind me, as are a couple of others.

Mile 2 - I can not hear anyone behind me and those ahead of me are just too far to try to reach.  I am holding pace as best I can but my stomach is starting to bother me.  I need to slow as I feel a combination side stitch and possible vomiting or worse about to happen.

Finish - I slowed some to keep things under control and quickly recover and feel fine after running.  3.06 on the GPS.  A slower finish time than last week, but a faster pace according to the GPS, due to the longer course.  Ghostmuster/Pumpkin Dash really must be a short course.

Chamber of Commerce races usually make for good raffle chances.  I do win, a large pizza.  TAG trophies is also a sponsor so we all get finisher's medals.  And there are trophies for the age group winners.   Amy and I make sure that we get a photo together, to share with our benefactors at Brooks Running.

That makes 8 races in 8 weeks.  A shame to miss the Turn Back the Clock race tomorrow.  My legs feel fine.....maybe I could go run the 5K tomorrow.........

6th place of 141
Race# 308
5K# 81

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10/26/13 Tenino Pumpkin Dash 5K

I ran this course seven times between 2000 and 2007.  Then it was called the Ghostmuster and was put on by the Thurston County Parks and Recreation.  Too bad they got out of the community fun run business.  I have fond memories here of battling it out with old rivals, one child of mine locking the car keys in the car, Jody running the 10K by mistake, fun T-shirts of which I still have a couple.  Six years later I am back.  It is the Pumpkin Dash now and a fundraiser for the PTA.  Same course as previous years. 

6th race in 6 weeks. Probably a first for me, I will have to check.

I arrive shortly after 7AM for the 8AM start.  Uh oh, no one is here.  Soon a couple of cars join me in the parking lot.  Eventually we learn that although the web site says that the event starts at 8AM, the race is not scheduled until 9AM.  Better to be early than late and by 8:30 there is a decent crowd and the people in charge know what they are doing.

Another cool, cloudy, and calm day.  Perfect running weather.  I have plenty of time to get my warm ups in.  I will wear the Brooks Launch shoes since they make me feel fast and my feet have been fine lately.  Nice to see Paul and his daughters, Mike, and Craig and Rachael.  Timing by Guerilla Running.

Start - The 10K race goes out first.  Now I can look around and assess the competition.  Looks like a couple of speedy guys, but plenty of room for me to start at the front.  Last time I raced a 5K with Coach Mike, he coached me all the way through, then beat me at the end.  I should just stay behind him this time, but as we start I find myself ahead of him and I am not going to look back.  I can see one young guy go out way faster than the others.

Mile 0.5 - Maybe four guys ahead of me and two women.  One of the women is Rachael and I watch her pass the other.  Fun to see her enter first place.  I feel good and keep up the pace.

Mile 1 - (7:05) Way ahead I see the turn off for the 10K and I see the 5K leader take that turn.  He is too far ahead for me to yell to him.  He will go on to complete the 10K and come in second overall, despite the head start that everyone else had.  Meanwhile Rachael is holding her lead on me but it is not growing.  I push hard to catch up to her.  Now we run together.  Nice time, but its not like we can talk or enjoy the scenery.  I think that I am more excited than she is about the good chance of her winning.  We stay together for about a half mile.  I still feel pretty good and am able to go ahead a little bit.  One guy comes storming past me though.

Mile 2 - 7:11 overall pace.  This is going to be a good one if I can just hold on.  Some crunchy leaves make me think of Jody.  Back to focusing on form which is falling apart.  I would like to have a strong kick at the end, but I am losing it. 

Mile 3.1 - Finish OK.  21:24!  Way better than expected.  But only 2.98 on the GPS.  Another finisher's watch reads 2.99 miles.  I do not recall this course being a little short, but maybe it is.  I would have been happy with anything under 22:30 and I would have had that easy on an accurate course, so whatever I am pleased with the run.

I feel even more satisfied when I compare my finish times from the same course in previous years:
2000   21:40
2002   23:10
2003   23:00
2004   22:16
2005   22:00
2006   22:07
2007   21:21
2013   21:24

I was just three seconds off my best time here. 

A short cool down.  Run Paul in the last bit of his 10K  Craig does a valiant job of getting the results in quickly.  On the web registration they forgot to ask gender or age, so Craig had to find that out and manually input the data for many runners.  I am sure that having two timed distances start at different times must make it more difficult too.  Nevertheless, results are posted quickly.  Age groups are given on the print out, but there are no age group awards.  There are some raffles and I win a case of Poweraide, enough to get me through the Winter. 

Fun to be back at the "Ghost of the Ghostmuster" 

5th place of 71, 1st in age group
Race#307, 5K#80

Saturday, October 19, 2013

10/19/13 Club Oly Tis the Season for a 5K race #1 at The Evergreen State College

My 5th race in five weeks. New course for this race.  It is only on trails and it will have some rooty single track and hills.  I have never run out here before.

Park in the F lot as instructed and walk the quarter mile to the start/finish area, where most people have also found parking.  Only 16 racers and plenty of volunteers so everything goes smoothly.  My $35 annual membership in Club Oly gets me free entry for the race series and a nice long sleeve tech shirt.

Amy and I do a one mile warm up to scope out the course and turn around at the base of a steep hill.  Better save it for the race.

The race - We start well and the first part is wide enough for passing.  I don't need to pass anyone and I hit a good pace right away.  In some places the trail is very runnable, I can go as fast as I like.  Other places have lots of roots and most are painted so we know they are there.  Up the steep hill that turned me back earlier.  Now a nice runnable part.  I pass Mia and then one guy, and I think that we may be the last two men.  Now the trail twists and there are two logs to go over.  I am not prepared for that and I step over them instead of jumping.  A steep rooty downhill where I decide to not push it and injure myself.  Hopefully I am gathering my breath as I pick my way down.  Faster on the flat then I slow on the uphill.  I can sense that the guy I passed is gaining on me as I climb uphill.  Back through the well marked trail, with volunteers (Bill, Jeff, Heike, Tammy) to help direct us.  Now that big hill for the second time.  I can feel last week's race in my legs.  I feel like walking.  Why did I run those hills on Thursday?  I am actually doing OK, but the guy behind me now catches up and passes me.  On to the flat and downhill but I can not get back to him as he extends his lead.  Sprint to the finish.  GPS says 2.8 miles, but others read 3.2.  I never did look at my watch during the race and with this new and difficult course I was not concerned about time.

I feel like I ran fairly well,  but somehow I ended up as the last male finisher.  Trying to not let that bother me, as everything else about this morning was fun.

12th of 16  (8th of 8 men)
Race#306  5K#79

Saturday, October 12, 2013

10/12/13 Defiance 50K

My third time here.  I missed last year so I have been using the same coffee mug at work for two years.  Looking forward to getting my finishers mug.  But first I have to run all day.

Same course, three loops.  For some reason I think that I can run each loop in 1:50 and that is the pace I set out on.  A little drizzle before the start and then just cool and cloudy.

Loop 1 - 1:50 - Lots of Maniac friends here.  I start with Ashley and it has been so long since we have run together.  After a mile she ducks into the restroom but I am sure that she will catch up soon.  This 11 minutes per mile pace should be easy but after the stairs and now some more up hill I am going too slow.  Plus the course is crowded.  I am patient and wait for wider trails, but I do have to get around people to get to my pace.  I pass way too many friends who I know can and usually do finish these races ahead of me.  By the end of loop 1 I know that I have gone too fast and I dread that they will all pass me.  Mile 3.5 I find myself with no one in front of me.  Free and clear to run my pace, but I also have to make sure that I stay on course.  Here is Maniac2TP walking toward me.  I ask him if I am still on the course and is he familiar with the course.  The second part was a joke, and he laughs, because he is the race director of this race.  On to the aid station, and then some more hills.  At about mile 6 I climb a wide trail, then go over the French woman's cables.  Up some more and now there are more cables but they are a few inches off the ground.  Someone could trip on those, they should be flagged.  Now a huge tree and I am not sure which way to go around it.  Then a cluster of people running toward me and telling me that we are off course.  At the same time I can hear Pedro yelling my name and telling be to turn around.  All in all I went about 30 feet off course, so no big deal.  I good reminder though that this race is one where you can not zone out, so many turns, you really have to stay alert the whole time.  Loop 1 ends without any more incidents.  The roped steep downhill to the water is fun.

Loop 2 - 2:05 - I know that I will never hold this pace but I keep chugging along.  Mostly alone.  A few words with really nice people as we run together a bit and then go our own paces.  Pedro catches up to me and for a minute I think that he is lapping me. No he is running a little slower than usual, 3 marathons in three weeks will do that.  I get to run with him for a couple of miles before I start getting very tired.  Suddenly I can barely run.  My run is about a fast walk pace and I am doing a lot of walking.  This race will not end well.

Loop 3 - 2:33 - Really sluggish and a few little pains that I do not want to make worse.  I know that many will pass me now and at first I dread it.  But then I think about the friends back there.  Who will catch me?  And won't it be nice to see them?  Nobody is going to think that I am a loser or lame runner.  Instead they will probably say something nice and encouraging.  Yes this will be fun.  I trudge along and when I hear footsteps approaching I wonder who it will be.  First up is Katie.  A quarter mile with Katie is way better than running alone.  She is doing great and I am happy for her.  Next up is the Rogue Wave.  It only took her 4 hours to catch up after her restroom stop.  Yay! I get to run with her for a little bit and then she if off. I have no sense of competition with her anymore, so it is just great to see her out there.  Little Leslie is next.  Strong run for her and this is her 200th marathon or ultra.  I am also glad that she is running well.  So well though that I can not even try to keep up.  Andy Lin is next, also going very fast at this point.  He will beat me by just a few minutes and it is fun to have the two maniac Andy's so close in many races.  I have to ration my water but have enough to make it to the aid station at the halfway point.  Fill it up and the second half of this loop is uneventful.  Hills and then the long flat trail that just goes on and on.  A couple of people pass me but no one that I know.  So wanting to hit the turn at the pavement and finish this thing.  Lots of very slow running.  On and on.  Past  the spectacular white rock.  Finally turn and get to the paved road.  I look back at the turn off to the steep descent and there is no one behind me.  I can take my time on the ropes, beat 6:30 and I will admit to being happy that no other friends caught me.

Finish 6:26:46
Other than my lack of energy/slowness, I had a very nice time.  Hope that I can come back next year.

Marathon or ultra#102
Defiance 50K #3

Saturday, October 5, 2013

10/5/13 Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival 5K

Six days post Bellingham Marathon.  Legs felt good enough on Thursday that I decided to run this 5K today.  I really like these small low key events.  $20 day of race includes a stainless steel water bottle.  Proceeds to charity. Easy parking and a nice course.  An hour drive from home, but easy to get to, and now the fog has lifted to a beautiful Fall day

Start and finish at Carlisle Lake by the old mill site.  The smoke stack is about all that remains.

I should have known that we would run around the lake.  I like the big course map that someone made for display.

I warm up on the road and only peek at the trail.  Nice and wide but gravelly here.

 Single track and rougher here.

Start - 73 runners plus some two mile walkers.  Kids run was held earlier. Great pre race announcements gets the walkers and those not concerned with time in the back.  I think this is the 5th year of this race, but my first time here.  Warm up went well, so I place myself near the front.  We start smoothly and proceed onto the narrow and rough trail.

Mile 0.25 - Stuck behind a few folks.  Going slower than I usually do at the start of a 5K, but that is fine.  I dodge around a couple of people when I can and then I feel like I am going fast enough.

Mile 0.5 - Just a little mud.  Then two small hills.  Wider trail, but leaf covered and some places with large angular rocks.  I squeeze between two runners.  One will soon pass me again.  The other will stay just behind me and be the woman's overall winner.

Mile 1 - Out of the lake and on to the smooth flat roads.  I am trying to keep the guy ahead of me from getting too far ahead.  Legs are OK but not great.  I forget to check my mile split time, but I know that I am going faster now that I am on the road.

Mile 2 - Gaining on the guy ahead, but not enough to catch him.  We run along the main street where the parade and fair will be later this morning.  At times I am not sure if I should go onto the sidewalk or stay on the road.  Soon enough it is back to the lake.

Mile 2.5 - Second time around the lake.  The two little hills do me in.  The guy pulls way ahead.  I keep up the effort and wonder if I can break 24 minutes.  Slowing and feeling tired but it is almost over.

Mile 3.1 (5K) - 3.09 on the GPS.  In to the finish chute and pleased with how it went.  No one passed me after the 0.8 mile mark, but I also did not catch anyone.  Hardly a fast time for me, but I can blame it on the trail or last weeks race.  At least I got in some faster miles today.

Cool down, cheer on the other finishers and then very quickly the results are ready.  1st in age group ribbon.  Raffles.  Hope I do not win the pedicure from the local Onalaska shop......hope I do win the shoes from South Sound Running.  No luck today, I do not win anything.  But a very nice event that I would do again for sure.

8th of 73
Race# 304, 5K#78

Monday, September 30, 2013

9/29/13 Bellingham Bay Marathon

Rain and wind, yet somehow we feel fortunate, because we are in the lull between two more serious storms.  Happy to be back at what continues to be the best overall marathon experience that I have run.  The rain will not dampen the spirits of the enthusiastic kid volunteers.  Other than our bus taking a couple of wrong turns on the way to the start, everything goes smoothly today.  But how will my running go?

Start - I have had very bad second halves here the past two years.  I decide to set out even slower than last year and hope for a good split time.  Rain, but the wind is at our backs for now.  Bald eagle sighting, then its all seagulls along the water.

Mile 3 - Dan and Tom are running together and are ahead of me.  I gradually catch up, then see that I am going faster than I would like and I ease off.  Catch up again.  This time we run together for a little while, before I slow back to my pace.

Mile 4 - Mel Preedy sighting 

Mile 8 - Off the water, out of the woods and onto the flat farmland.  Heavier rain and I consider putting the trash bag on over my jacket.  Strong wind blowing sideways.  Up ahead we will turn into the wind.  Here it is.  Strong wind right in the face.  I am with Robert Jacobsen.  We run side by side and close together to tackle the wind.  It is not so hard, but I know that it is sucking my energy.

Mile 12 - Back with Tom and Dan for a while.  I see the halfway marker ahead and know that I am a little ahead of pace.  I let them go ahead, hoping that I will catch up later.

Mile 13.1 - 2:07

Mile 13.5 - Over the Nooksak River.  High and brown with big branches and whole trees floating by.

Mile 14 - I have seen two runners with matching "Lost Dutchman" shirts off an on for the whole race.  Now I am with them.  One of my favorite parts of the course is coming up, when the large half marathon joins us and the race gets crowded and full of energy.  I wonder if these two know what will happen soon?  I ask the woman, "Have you run this before?"  "Yes, every year", she replies.  "Oh you must be Celina Coombs!  I have been wanting to meet you!"  She is surprised that I would know her name.  And her running partner is Eric Stacy!  These are the other two "legacy" runners.  The three of us are the only remaining people to have run the full marathon here each year.  We talk about the various year's T-shirts (the red one was the worst), how good this race is, racing goals, Boston, Lost Dutchman....and the miles and two large hills go by easily and then we hit the merge.

Mile 17 - The merge.  At my slower pace this year I am now running with hundreds who are going 10 to 10:30 per mile.  I stay relaxed and very gradually pass people as I get the chance.  I lose Celina and Eric.  Tom and Dan are so far ahead that I have lost sight of them.

Mile 21 - In to town.  They have us mostly on the sidewalk, though I think it is OK to run on the side of the road.  Feeling pretty good and holding back, hoping that I can make it last.  Right leg is tightening up some.  Quads are starting to feel it too. Uphill and a Nancy Szoke sighting (halfing).  So fun to see a friendly face at this point.  I keep chugging along.  Now the section right by the finish line.  My watch says 3:38 so I know that the runners zooming toward me are trying to beat 3:40.  I yell to encourage them and it helps me forget about the fact that I still have 4.5 miles to go.

Mile 22 - On the crushed gravel with a little clay mud trail.  All halfers around me.  Still passing them gradually and hoping that I will not need a walk break.  Quads getting worse.  Rain has stopped.  Hat comes off.

Mile 24 - Down to the water and onto the boardwalk over the water with a very strong headwind.  I am in good spirits, especially since I have not had to walk yet.  I have slowed but I am plugging along.  The wind is so strong that we have to laugh.  Now the sharp turn and steep uphill.  One goal that I had was to run all of the hills today.  I declare my goal and charge up the hill.  Woman next to me says that she had planned pre race to walk up this hill and that is exactly what she was going to do.  I don't think that I was much faster than her, but I am able to keep running and reach the top without much difficulty.

Mile 25 - A few more small hills here but we are close now.  I am not going to break 4:20, but that is OK.  New goal is to not take any walk breaks.  Jacket comes off and goes around the waist.  I can run, just not very fast. Still passing clumps of half marathoners and that makes me feel like I am doing well.

Mile 26.2 - 26.2 on the GPS.  Good sustained effort to the end.  No walking!  Cupcake from PK

Finish time is better than last year, but not near what I would like.  With the positive split again I really should not try going any faster.  In fact I start thinking of a new strategy for pacing.  I think that I will take my finish time from the previous race and make sure that my half point matches half of that finish time.  So for my next road marathon I should run a 2:11 first half (since I ran 4:22 today).  That should make for a strong second half and if I can negative split I can set out faster next time. 

If I recover well I might run the Shuck and Run in Shelton next weekend.  Otherwise I for sure plan on the Defiance 50K on October 12.

189th of 373
Marathon or ultra#101
7th Bellingham Bay Marathon (Legacy)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

9/21/13 Cooks Hill Challenge 10 miler

Centralia WA, my first time at this event.  A while back I was looking for a race on this date and found this one that I had not hear of.  Apparently it has been run for some years, but is a small event.  The 10 mile race is billed as a very challenging course with two major hills.  There is also a 5K "fun run".  I looked at the results from the 5K of last year and saw that the fastest person ran it in 21:51 and second place was over 25 minutes.  If the 21:51 guy does not show up, I could have an easy "win".  Except that it is billed as a fun run....but it is timed.  This week I was reminded of the distinction between group run and race.....

.....On Tuesday I went to Priest Point Park for the Oly Trail 5K run.  It was a fund raiser for a local family that has extraordinary medical bills to deal with.  A 5K run though is not a race.  In fact the City of Olympia will at this time allow races to go through the park but only group runs, not races may be held entirely in the park.  The event was fun, despite the rain, and was a good fund raiser.  No real time goal on the trails here.  I started off well and picked up the pace.  A couple of young kids were very hard to pass but I finally caught all but one of them.  Martino was ahead of me the whole way.  There was a clock (27 something I ran) but no record of times, otherwise that would be a race.  I was in the top 50 and got an Oly Trail Runners bandana. Good hard run, but I will not count that as a race on my "official" list.  It did make me want to run a real race today, so I signed up for the 10 miler.......

.......and then I looked at last year's results from that race.  The winner was 1:33:21, second place in 1:35:11.  That is over a 9/mile and three weeks ago I ran a ten mile race in 1:20 something.  Unless the course is that hard, I have a better chance of winning this than the 5K.  I should not get my hopes up, there is a very good chance that some fast people will show up this year.  But until the race starts I can dream about it.

The course is billed as being challenging.  Two hills, one of 200 feet and another "the hill to beat all hills" according to the race brochure, of 250 feet.  Any of my ultra running friends who are reading this must be chuckling.  As long as I do not go all out, these hills should be manageable.  In fact after the hilly Narrows ten miler, I have been on a hill quest and this race is another part of it.  Bring on the hills!  In the past two weeks I have run up 2,300 feet at Mount Rainier, plus another 1,300 foot run there three days ago.  I also did a tempo run that included a 400 foot climb.  The hill out of the Narrows must be more that 250 feet as well.  So this will not be a PR course, but I think that I can manage the hills.

$30 online registration two days before the race.  No T-shirt but I don't need one.  The 5K is a legit race with timing and finisher ribbons.  For ten miles we will get a finishers medal.  Everyone gets a goody bag with lots of fun items like glass cleaner, a toothbrush and numerous pens.  The race is sponsored by the Rotary Club and is happening at the same time as a large Health and Wellness Fair.  Proceeds from the race go to the National Rotary's fight to eliminate Polio worldwide.

Plenty of volunteers and a well marked and beautiful course. It is foggy and perfect running weather.  Nice to see Barb Johnson.  I will drive the course after the race and take some pictures.

Start -  One fast guy that I recognize is here.  He asks my predicted time (I tell him 1:22) and he says that I will win, but as soon as we start he is off like a rocket and dissapears into the fog, never to be seen again.

Mile 0.25 - So I hope for second, place but now another guy catches up to me.  We chat a little and I am worried because he has no trouble talking and I am gasping for air.  We both think that we are going to fast and will slow eventually and neither of us think that we can get to number 1.

Mile 2 - My running buddy decides to go a little faster and he takes off.  He will get about 100 feet ahead of me quickly, but then stay that way for a long time. Now the first steep uphill.  It is tough but manageable.

Mile 4 - Scenic country roads with no traffic.  The long downhill on Joppish road is welcome.  I pick up the pace and keep working hard.  7:52 average per mile by the time I get to the bottom of the hill.  The flat road then seems harder.  Gatorade and water is offered at each aid station.

Mile 5 - The second place guy is gradually coming back to me.  But now I hear a little talk behind me.  I am by no means locked into 3rd.  Nice flat road, feeling pretty good.  Then the left turn and the biggest steepest hill.  The hill has a little break in the middle.  I make it up the first half OK, but the last part beats me.  Near the top I am still pumping my arms and going as fast as I can, but I think that if I were walking I might be able to move faster.  I really want to walk.  I should not have made light of these hills.  Fortunately the top of the hill arrives and the running gets easier.

Mile 6 - Running better now, but so are the two guys behind me.  They pass me with ease and move ahead.  One of them will take off from the other in a few minutes and really pick up the pace.  In the mean time I am able to catch the guy who was number 2.  He fades out  and for the last three miles I pretty much have a lock on 4th place.

Mile 8 - Very welcome downhill, except that I am slapping on the pavement.  This can not be good for my knees or feet.  I need to relax and make it to next weeks race without injury.  But if I can hold this pace I have a shot at getting under 1:20

Mile 9 - About an 8:30 mile would get me in under 1:20.  But there are some uphills and some 5K walkers to pass and the running is getting more difficult.  When I see the finish clock and see that I will not beat 1:20 I relax some more and cruise on in.

Finish - 10.11 on the GPS.  The course might be a little long, but not so off.  The ten mile marker is placed well in front of the finish line too and I don't know what that means. Simple tag board timing and very fast results.  A nice awards ceremony where the Mayor of Centralia presents me with my 1st in age group super sized ribbon.  Very well organized, great course, good price and worthy cause.  I must do this one again.

4th place of 18

Saturday, August 31, 2013

8-31-13 Over the Narrows Ten Mile Race

Fourth annual event and my 4th time here.  I am a legacy runner.  Last year I was having foot issues and took it nice and easy, having a fun time with some friends.  Today I would like to run faster.  Not PR fast, but hopefully in the 1:18-1:19 time frame.  I surprised myself at the 5K two weeks ago, hopefully I can set it up here too.

Easy parking this year. Bright sunshine at the start.  Martinho and I compare sunglasses.

Start - I know that the course will narrow down soon after the start, so I line up close to the front.  Chip timing only at the finish is another reason to be near the front, but the race is not huge, so it really does not make much of a difference.  Smooth start even with the turns in the parking lot.

Mile 1 - Gentle downhill in 7:15.  Run with Martinho

Mile 2 - Still going downhill and running too fast.  I do not feel at my best today.  Working hard to keep this pace.  And now the sharp turn and instant steep uphill.  Steepest hill of the race and it gets me good.  Hang on and keep going. Martinho gets ahead of me and I will watch him gradually extend his lead for the next 8 miles.

Mile 3.5 - On to the bridge.  Bright sun and warm.  Sweating and feeling the heat.  Long down hill.

Mile 4.8 - Lead runner coming back.  It is Miguel and he has a tremendous lead.

Mile 4.9 - No Pedro, no Ginger.  Big uphill.  Hills!!  That last 5K was so flat.  That 12 hour race was so flat.  That speed work I have been doing was largely on flats.  I need to get back to the hills.  Well today will help.

Mile 5.3 - Here is the turn around.  I had forgotten about the shorter way back.  Great downhill but still not feeling so good.  Worried about the last hills.  Judy Fischer sighting.

Mile 7 - See the 5K runners coming toward me.  They have a different start and finish area which must make logistics difficult.  Still a well organized event put on by the Rotary Club. $30 with medal and chip timing and a no T-shirt option.  Proceeds to aid school children.

Mile 8 - Holding on OK.  Nobody is passing me though there are two guys on my tail and now after the steep downhill, we have a two mile climb.  Both guys pass me and I wonder how many more will get me on this uphill.  I have slowed a lot since the start, but I am not losing it completely.  Keep working hard.  I don't think that I will beat 1:20, that is a bit slower than I had wanted today.

Mile 8.5 - Wondering if anyone is behind me.  I do not want to look back, as that is such a sign of weakness.  A woman in a car is giving a "woot, woot, woot" for the two guys who are ahead of me.  Now silence, then she gives me the "woot woot woot".  Now I will be able to tell how far back the next person is without looking back.  As I am running hard, I am also listening and waiting for it.....good it has been at least ten "woot, woot woot".  The next runner should not be a challenge for me if I can keep up this pace.  In fact no one else does pass me as I cruise on in.

Mile 10 - 10.0 on the GPS.  Not even close to 1:20 but I am happy with the workout.  Just not my day, but not so far off from where I should/would like to be.  I think that the lack of hill training did me in and I can work on that for the next races.

Maybe a 5K in the near future, then the Bellingham Bay Marathon on 9/29

47th place of 325
Race#301, Over the Narrows #4

Saturday, August 17, 2013

8-17-13 Thunder Rumble 5K - Tumwater

My 300th race, but after the hoopla of six days ago, lets just keep it low key.  First time event.  I had not planned to race today, but found myself with free time this morning.  The race benefits military and their families.  It was not largely advertised so I expect a small turn out.  It looks to be pretty well organized with Rich Brown doing the timing.  The porta-potties do not arrive until after the race is over, but luckily it is not a problem for me.  Day of race entry is $30 and I get what I believe to be my 131st race T-shirt.

How are the legs?  I ran 50.2 miles six days ago.  I took three days off and did and easy 2.1 miles on Thursday.  That run included walk breaks.  No real stiffness or soreness just tired.  I am just here to get in a couple of miles and have fun.  Small race with good raffles.  I was going to run a few miles anyway, might as well join the fun here.  I expect a 25-26 minute finish time.

My arches are fully recovered from the plantar faciitis of last winter.  It was a year ago that they started acting up.  One cause was too many miles in a different shoe.  I love the feel of the Brooks Launch, but it does not have the arch support that I need.  I have not worn them since the disastrous Portland Marathon of last October.  But I wear them today for this short race.  I promise that I will never wear them for long runs though.

When I arrive at the site, the flat roads near the airport, I see that the Army has sent a large force.  Good thing they are not in my age group, I think.  I am worried that it will be a jam up and a much larger event, but only a handful of soldiers will be registered runners.  Most will start in the back and stay in formation, all coming in right at the 30 minute mark.

I see Tammy.  Third race in a row where I have seen here.  She wants to do a warm up mile or so.  We have a half hour to the start and we set off at an easy pace.  Wow, my legs feel much better than expected.  I warm up easily and I love these shoes.  I am able to get in some surges and sprints before the start.  Everything feels great.  I don't have a single part of me that is nagging or worrisome in any way.  This is very rare.  I might as well run as fast as I can and dial it back if anything comes up.

Start - We all line up and start right on time.  Thanks to the city of Tumwater we should not get lost.  Just follow the cones.

I am behind Mike Henderson.  I am running way faster than I should.  Small race with plenty of room to do my own thing.  At about 0.75 miles I pass Mike.  He stays right behind me though.

Mile 1 - 7:16  Mike has coached High School track and cross country for many years and now I am one of his students.  He is encouraging me and advising me to relax my arms. "Don't slow down, just keep tapping away...tap tap tap".  

Mile 1.5 - Aid station.  I think about some water and decide that I probably do not need it. But then I see that my friend Tina is handing out cups.  I take one, sloshing most on my face and shirt, but a little goes in my mouth.  Gentle headwind and starting to slow.  Gasping for air.

Mile 2 - Legs are fine, I just do not have breath.  Mike still coaching me.  Ugh, I did tell him about the 50 miles I just ran. Why won't he pass me and leave me alone!  Then I could just ease back. 

Mile 2.5 - I wish that I could just slow down, this is so hard. Nothing hurts and I am not quite at the pace where I think I will vomit, so I push on.  In a way I am glad that Mike is with me as I know that I will slow if/when he does get past me.  In fact he soon turns it on for a sprint to the finish and I try to go faster but simply can not. Another guy comes zooming past me and then it is the final turn.

Mile 3.1 - Finished. 3.08 on the GPS.  22:54 on the clock.  Quite a bit faster than my last 5K in June, I am ecstatic about that finish time.  It is so much fun to run fast, I really felt like I was flying for the first part anyway.  Very unexpected.  It makes me want to work harder to get faster and with my next marathon more than six weeks away, I do have time to work on faster paces.

Great raffle prizes but alas I do not win any.  I do get a first place in my age group medal.  So does Tammy.  Strange age group groupings.  There is a 31-33 age group.  Mine is 45-50.  Great to see Richard Olafson take command of the 80+ age group.

Next up, I hope to run the Over the Narrows 10 miler in two weeks. 

13th place of 105

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

8/11/13 Transcendence 12 hour Olympia

My 100th marathon or ultra!  About 5 years ago I made the ambitious goal of running 50 marathons by age 50.  Now I am at 100 and three years early.  A year ago I mapped it all out and was planning for number 100 at Tacoma in May.  But my plantar had other ideas and I missed a couple of months of racing.  The feet are fine now.  In fact everything feels good and since it has been a month since my last marathon, I have even been able to incorporate some speed workouts with the regular runs.  Nothing speedy about today though.  Today it is all about the endurance to keep moving and about celebrating number 100.

My 4th time here.  I am a "legacy" runner, having completed all of the previous events.

It is a small event, capped at 70, but many of the runners are my Marathon Maniac friends.  I do not train with the local clubs, so races are my running social outlet.  A few miles a the end of a marathon is all it takes to bond with a fellow sufferer.  Years ago it was all about finish time and what I could accomplish.  Now I look forward to sharing the adventure with others and seeing how it will unfold.

When I heard that Ginger had to be in Portland the day before the race and was asking about where she might sleep in her car for a few hours, or find a cheap hotel, I said "nonsense" and invited her to stay with us.  She is one of my favorite Maniacs and it was fun to start my celebration by hosting her.  I gave her the "medal room" and put out various running relating comfort items like a banana and bottle of gatorade so she would feel at home.  She will go on to run 68 miles, win the women's race and break the course record that she set last year.  Since the race starts 15 minutes from home and I have done this before, it is logistically very easy and it is no trouble to host her.

I suspected that I would be given bib #100, but I had no idea that it would be decorated so nicely.

Dixie, an old friend who now lives in Canada was passing through town and I was hoping to see her at some point during the race.  But her plans changed and she came through in the middle of the night.  But she put this poster up for me and I got to see it at every lap.  Marie made a giant card for people to sign and that was really nice.

My other Canadian friend, Maniac Tracy, is here.  I see her just before the start.  I hope that we get to run together some.  With this race I tend to see the same people over and over, or if they are running right at my pace and just ahead or behind, I might hardly see them at all.  Linda is here and will run all day and I won't see her until we are all done.

We start just as the sun is rising and around and around we go.  I do start off with Tracy and it is a great way to start things off.  We talk and get caught up, running an easy ten minute mile.  Before I know it four loops have passed, and we have run 6 miles before 7AM.  I try to be quick through the end of each loop, but it seems like there is always something to do. Grab some fluid and or food, maybe take an S!Cap, apply sunscreen, or dig out the sunglasses.  I lose Tracy after 4 laps but pick up Maniac Paige.  Our first time running together and it is another nice loop.  Lose Paige and pick up MM#1 the president Steve Yee.  I tell him that it is all his fault. Without this club I would never have considered running so many marathons.  He says that he thinks I could be one to eventually make it into the hall of fame.  Talk about long range goals, I will have to complete another 233 marathons to achieve than rank.  At a reasonable 10-15 a year it just could happen eventually.  I see no need to quit this lifestyle.  Lose Steve and keep going around in loops.

Mile 21 - Jody comes for a visit.  She can not run with me due to a calf strain, but I walk a bit with her and enjoy seeing her a couple of times throughout the day.  I glance at my watch and see that the battery has died.  It does not matter and really it frees me up to just keep moving and not worry about time.  As long as I do not stop, the miles will add up.  Now Tammy joins me for a while and of course she turns it into a party.

Tammy wants to be there when I complete enough miles to count it as a marathon.  Most would think that it is 26.2 miles, but in a longer timed event, the Maniac Club requires that I complete at least 50K.  I am tiring and running slowly but reach 26.2 in good spirits.  I am presented with a cowboy hat to go with my pony.

Bill has joined me and he will pace me for 15 miles.

Kern and Lori sighting:

 Maniac Katie sighting just before completing the 50K:

And then I run into the history books; enough miles that if I quit now I can call it my 100th marathon:

But it is only noon.  I have six more hours to run if I want to.  Bill is patient as I am shuffling and taking lots of walk breaks.  At times it gets quite hot out.  Fortunately there are some clouds off on on to cool things off.  My right heel/achilles has been acting up and I change stride and it seems to get better.  Miles 20 -34 are not easy.  We talk about it and I decide to take a bit of a break and change shoes.  I soak my feet in an ice bath, have a slice of pizza and drink a lot of Carbo Pro.  Fresh socks and shoes feel good and now we walk a bit while my feet thaw and I digest.  Bill does two more laps with me and I am feeling much better.

Mile 36 - Now on my own, but often a little while with others.  I do not have a GPS but I get a mileage update to confirm where I think I am at each loop.  Ginger keeps passing me, then Steve who will complete 74 miles!

Mile 41 - The clock at the check in tells me that I have three hours left and 9 miles to go to reach 50 miles.  Should be no problem.  The actual distance will be 50.3.  Anything over 50 miles would be fine.  Last year I did one more loop, covering 51.8 miles.  Some people will run the 50.3 and stop, so if I do one more lap it will make my finishing place higher.

Tom and Katie walking around the lake.  Tom's first ultra.

Mile 46.5 - Deb and I fall in together.  We walk.  She is not highly motivated at this point.  We are excited for Marie though who is working very hard to reach 50 miles, but she is two laps behind me.  I know that I could walk it in and reach 50, but I am unsure that Marie can do it.  The bottoms of my feet are really starting to feel the pavement and gravel.  I think that I might be getting giant blisters on the bottoms of my feet.  Should I push on and try to get in that one more lap, or should I just enjoy the end of this day and walk with Deb.  She suggests that I not injure myself and it is easy to stay and enjoy her company.  Marie catches up and I plan to pace her to the end. We run about a third of a loop, but then I just can not keep up!  I have to walk.  Then I see that Deb is walking and Marie has gone on.  I catch Deb and we finish together.

Mile 50.3 - Done!  But the race drama is not over.  I sit and drink for a bit then go just ahead of the finish to watch Steve and Ginger's winning last laps.  Lisa gets 50.3 miles on her 50th marathon.  Niki completes 51.8 miles!  Joe has been encouraging her and offering me water,watermellon and other goodies all day.  Marie makes it to 50.3 with 6 minutes to spare.  Monte gets his 50 miles in with about 2 minutes to go.

Thanks to Rachel, Craig, and all the Guerilla Running volunteers.  This was the perfect race to celebrate number 100 and it was a fantastic day.

50.3 miles
11 hours 17 minutes 18 seconds
Marathon or ultra#100

Monday, July 22, 2013

7/20/13 Lakefair Half Marathon

Second year in a row with this dilemma of having two great races within six days of each other.  I gave it my all at the Tunnel Marathon on Sunday, so there is no way that I can be fast today.  Last year I did run this race hard on tired legs and it was not great fun.  I will take it easy today and just enjoy the event.  I will go sub 2 hours, but not sub 1:50.  1:58 sounds good to me.  Jared bailed at the last minute but Tammy is here and she has the same time goal.  It will be fun to run with her.  We have a long history.  In fact I coached her a little for her first race which was so long ago that she wore a cassette walkman while running it.

It is 7AM and cool and grey with no wind.  The clouds will burn off later, but not until after the race.  Ideal running conditions.  I have not run a half marathon since this race last year.

Start - I find Tammy just before the start and we cross the start line together.  Gradual uphill with turns to get things going.  Crowded but we are at a good pace.

Mile 2 - On the Eastside paved trail.  First water stop is overwhelmed, but I get a cup without much wait.  The trail is just a little narrow for this race.  It can hold 4 across and there are a lot of runners at this pace.  We work our way around some, and others pass us.  It is nicer when we have some room in front of us.

Mile 3 - Steady 8:50 per mile pace.  It is a little faster than I had planned.  Tammy is feeling good and I convince her to relax and hold back for now.  I assume that she will be able to beat 2 hours but that it could be a struggle.

Mile 5 - Now on the Chehalis Western Trail where I run often.  Very familiar territory and a gradual downhill.  Dawn Schuler sighting.

Mile 7 - Feeling hungry right when Tammy offers me a small cookie.  My legs feel tired and tight off and on. We are still holding an even pace.  We are on a long straight section of country road, maybe 36th street. I hear a small "ping" sound on the ground behind us.  It only registers in my brain because a runner 20 feet back yells up to us that Tammy had dropped a key.  She had her car key in her pocket and it had fallen out.  We never would have known or been able to find it, had the runner not seen it and picked it up fer her.  Tammy secures the key in the zipper pocket of her hand held water bottle and we continue on pace.

Mile 9.5 - Volunteer Bill is there and Kari snaps this photo of Tammy and I

Mile 10 - Llama sighting.  Steepest uphill of the course.  Tammy is struggling and I am worried that she is hitting the wall.  I am prepared to stay with her until my two hour finish is threatened, but she toughs it out and tops the hill.  Now she is running well again.

Mile 11 - Through Priest Point Park and then a gentle downhill on Eastbay drive.  Picking up the pace, we are at 8:49 and running well.

Mile 12 - Tammy says that I could go on ahead.  I had thought about running the last mile as fast as possible, but there are only a few people ahead of us that I think I could catch and I really do not want to injure myself just to take a minute or two off my time.  I will stay with Tammy to the end.  Club Oly is staffing the mile 12 aid station and Tammy drops her water bottle there, for a friend to return later in the week.  Neither of us remember that her car key is in the pouch with the bottle until after the race finish.

Mile 12.5 - Pass Judy Fisher

Mile 13.1 - 13.05 on the GPS.  Being the gentleman, I let Tammy cross ahead of me.  We ran very even splits the whole way.  The sprint to the finish gave us a slightly negative split.  I drive Tammy back to mile 12 to pick up her key.

Nice wooden medal again this year.  Rogue Race Timing has laptops set up so I can check my chip timed results right away.

I am thinking that I might skip the Tunnel Marathon next year and try to be fast at this half.  But I love the Tunnel.  I have time to decide. Next race is August 11, my 100th marathon.

129th of 375
Race# 298, Lakefair Half #2

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7/14/13 The Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

A marathon on my birthday!  Bib #47 to honor the event.  My 4th time at this race.  Up at 4AM.  Park the car in North Bend at 5:45AM.  On the bus and at the start line by 6:30AM.  Ninety minutes to chat with friends and try to stay warm.  Finally the sun peeks out from over the mountain and it starts to warm up.  It is going to be another bright sunny and warm day.  Seems like I am on a streak of warm sunny weather for my races lately.  Maniac Monte's 300th marathon.  My 99th.

Start - Packed in thick but the short out and back sorts us out well.  Into the tunnel.  Going in I see and inscription with the dates 1912-1914.  Is this tunnel really 100 years old?

Mile 1 - Lost GPS signal and it is dark.  Mile marker of chalk with glow sticks.  Seems wetter than previous years.  The ground is mostly dry, but I get splattered on a couple of times by something dripping from above.  Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Mostly looking at the ground but once when I look up, it appears that a runner is coming toward me.  Just as I am about to get out of the way, I realize that he is going in the same direction as me, the light at the end of the tunnel made it look like a head lamp and something about his stride made me think he was about to run into me.

Mile 2.2 - Almost out of the tunnel.  I take a look back as the RD had suggested and it is a very cool sight to see all the lights.  Now out of the tunnel and a kind volunteer helps me with my drop bag as the long sleeves come off and I store the knuckle lights.

Mile 3.0 - GPS has snapped into place and I am on 8:55 pace.  Gentle downhill now for many miles.  I get a little faster and am feeling good.

Mile 8 - Average pace is now 8:45 and I won't let it get any faster than that.I am going to try to run sub 4 hours today and that puts me well into that range and perhaps too fast.  It has been one year since I last went sub 4 and it was at this race.  The great news is that I have no injuries, everything has felt fine for a while now.  I may not have the training in, but I will go for it and see what happens.

Mile 15 - Getting warmer out.  Warm breeze swirling around at times.  Funny in this race with so many people I know, I end up running mostly alone or with strangers.  Nice folks though.  Focus on the running, try to not get caught up in the amazing scenery.  I appreciate the gift of being able to run up here.

Mile 20 - 8:50 overall pace and hoping it can continue, but I am just starting to stiffen up and tire some.  Warm.

Mile 21 - The one turn on the course and all of a sudden I am out of energy.  Oh so hard to keep going.  Run becomes a shuffle with walk breaks.

Mile 22 - 4 hour finish slips away.  Lots of people passing me.  Hot and tired.  Pass a woman who is staggering but says that she is OK.

Mile 23 - Maniac S passes me and will go on to beat me by 8 minutes.  What a strong finish for her.

Mile 24 - I am going to have to step it up if I want to beat my 4:09 from my last marathon.  I get in behind a guy and follow on his heels as he is running at a nice pace.  I expect this to last about a quarter mile, but I get into a groove and actually pass him.  Now I am able to keep running much longer than I thought possible. 

Mile 25 - Too bad I had that horrible bad patch from 21-24.  I now feel much more energetic. Stiff but I can keep running.  I have rallied like this before a few times and it is frustrating to not understand what is happening with my energy levels.  Well this one is almost over and mentally I know that I can push on.  Stay even with a woman for pacing support and then pass her.

Mile 26.2 - 26.44 on the GPS.  Stop running and now I feel very hot. The woman who finished right in front of me is being escorted to the medical tent.  I look for some shade.  It takes a few minutes and some ice on the head before I feel better.  I should feel happier with this finish time.  It sure was a fun way to start my birthday.  Now home to celebrate more and eat whatever I want.

My next marathon will be number 100!!  Transcendence 12 hour in Olympia.  It will be another celebration.

Before then though, I am signed up for the Lakefair Half Marathon in six days.  I plan to take it easy on these tired legs and just get in under 2 hours.  Hopefully I will be somewhat recovered by then.

193rd of 390
Marathon or ultra #99!