I first ran here in 2000. Then a few years of doing the half marathon and the five miler. Since 2005, I have run the full, making today my 9th in a row (longest marathon streak) and 10th time running the full marathon. This is my third year as a pacer. It works out well to run a little slower than usual and treat it as a training run. It comes soon after Tacoma and prior to a June race. This is a tough course for me to race well at, so I am happy to take my time and help others achieve their goals. Since this was my original favorite marathon and my home town race that they do so well with, I am honored and proud to serve as a pacer. Coming off my injury in the Winter I was unsure of what time I could run, so I ended up with 4:45 duties compared to 4:15 last year.
Pacer meeting at 6:30 to get our balloons tied on. Some last minute shuffling of duties has me running the whole distance alone, but it should not be a problem. The weather is cloudy and cool but not cold at the start. It will warm up a little but really be ideal.
Start - Under 300 in the full marathon so lining up is not a problem. Smooth start and I am careful to not go out too fast. It has been difficult to run 10:50 per mile in practice, it is just slower than comfortable for me. But I will work hard and keep checking the watch to stay on pace. Walk breaks at the aid stations are planned to get me back on track if needed.
Mile 1 - Hanna H sighting
Mile 2- Haley H sighting
Mile 3 - Runners fairly spread out now. Two guys are chatting and are staying right behind me. They comment on the green balloon tugging at my shoulder, like a fish on the line. I tell them that they will have PTSD the next time they see a green balloon, if they follow me the whole way.
Mile 4- Meet Julie, just hoping to break 5 hours. We will go a little back and forth the whole way and she will make her goal and thank me after the race. It is so rewarding to have people thank you afterwards.
Mile 5 - The two guys (Will and Mike) have really latched on to me. They are both running their first marathon. They are not concerned with finish time, just getting it done and having fun. We while away the miles talking about guy stuff. No one else joins our group.
Mile 20 - 15 uneventful miles. Up and down. Feeling very comfortable at this pace. Still with Mike and Will. Mike is falling behind a little. No one has passed us. With the even pace we have picked off runner after runner, many of whom are taking walk breaks. Closer to town we start to see more spectators and the excitement for the finish starts to build.
Mile 23 - The last long uphill. Will has not run farther than 13 miles, but he feels great and decides to finish strong. He goes on ahead and will beat me by nine minutes. Mike is hanging on not far behind me. Every once in a while I get a mysterious pain deep in my left foot. With a few careful steps it goes away.
Mile 23.5 - Catching up to a Maniac. Ah, Mama Lisa. I have seen her at each of my last three marathons. Nice to see her here, then she rallies and goes on ahead. Meanwhile the free beer at the last unofficial aid station has energized Mike and he is back with me.
Mile 24 - Pass a couple of people who seem to think that I am ahead of pace. I think that I am at most 2 minutes ahead and I should slow down some. The GPS is reading long, so the math is not quite as easy. Plus, I do not have a seconds reading after one hour, so I am not exactly sure of the time.
Mile 25 - Downhill all the way now. I suggest to Mike that he finish strong, but he is happy to just stay with me. The Pacer's job is really done at mile 25 in this race. Anyone who can stay with a pacer all that way will have no trouble picking up the pace for the final downhill mile. Other that Mike, no one is near me. I slow some more in hopes of coming in just under 4:45
Mile 25.8 - Just like last year, I underestimated my time ahead of schedule. Now the finish looks far away and it is 4:43. I start running faster. I hate to do this to Mike, but I am supposed to come in under my goal time. Last year I ran much harder and just barely made it. This year it is out of reach. I started the sprint too late, plus it really does not matter. Mike and I run fast to the finish and are pleased with our times.
26.2 - 26.49 miles on the GPS watch. Most of the crowd has left, but there are some friends here to celebrate with. Jared ran the half marathon, his first, and crushed his predicted time. Lots of people got their BQs, age group awards and PRs. Another Capital City Marathon is done and it continues to be a terrific event.
220th of 293
Race #293, Marathon or Ultra # 96