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