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