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)

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