Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fathers Day 5K Olympia

First time event, organized by the Capital Christian Church.  Isaac told me about it, I had not seen it on any race calendars.  The last time I know that I ran a race with Isaac was in 2001.  Day of race registration is a mere $10 and includes a T-shirt.  Since I was not sure I would be able to race this weekend, this is a way better deal that trekking up to Tacoma for StN and paying $40 plus parking.  Chambers Trailhead is close to home and I will get back early for family time.

Out and back on the paved Chehalis Western trail.  Since it is a first time event, put on by a church, I do not have great expectations for organization.  I will just enjoy it as a fun run.  Also I did marathons on the last two weekends, my legs are tired and I have not done speed work in a long time.

I get there plenty early and sign up is easy.  Time for a 2 mile warm up, then change into racing shoes.  They do have things well organized and we start right on time.

Start - It is a small race and a fairly wide trail so I do not line up right in the front.  We go off and I immediately wish that I had started closer to the line.Some people start by walking and others are starting very slowly.  I bump into the guy in front of me who had bumped into the guy in front of him as we come to a sudden stop.  Nothing bad really and soon we are running.  After about 30 seconds of assessing the situation I go to the far left of the course and zoom past a big cluster.  Now room to run and a few guys are already getting quite a bit ahead of me.

Mile 0.5 - Pass a few and now gaining on the second place runner.  I am able to pass him and get into a solid second place.  First place is a young guy (later I will learn that he is 14 years old)  who is out of reach but not gaining much more distance.  My only hope is that he falls apart in the second half.

Mile 1 - Working hard and maintaining second place while number one is the same distance ahead.  Stinging nettles reach out onto the trail and I consider brushing against them to distract myself from the effort of holding this pace.

Mile 1.35 - I can see number one at the turn around.  He stops to drink at the aid station.  He starts again and then turns around to properly cross the line, as directed by the volunteer.  This lets me get a little closer.  When I reach the table I get a quick drink and make sure to cross the line while turning around.  I can see the volunteer's eyes on my feet, keeping us all honest.  Start heading back and I can see that I have a large lead on number three.  Number three is farther back from me, than I am from number 1.

Mile 2 - The first place guy is getting faster now and will clearly win.  I try to count runners heading out but give up with some large packs.  There are bout 60 I estimate.  Some want to high five me and I oblige.  One tells me to "catch that kid", which is exactly the type of thing that I would say to someone in that situation.  Another person tells me that I will get the silver medal.  I like that

Finish - Surprised to see 21:00 on the watch.  Then I see that the mileage on the GPS is only 2.84 miles.  That would still give me a 22 something on an accurate course and I am very happy with that.  I congratulate the winner.  Watch and cheer for the runners coming in.  Great vibe from the volunteers and participants.  No timing or place recording though.  That makes it easy for them.  The website clearly stated that there would be awards for the first male and female and the first family that finishes.  They do have those prizes and those are the only runners that they need to keep track of.  I like this idea for a small event like this.  Maybe they could just have a big clock going so people could see their finish times as they cross the line.  It was a nice event and way to get some speed work in.  Really great to see lots of non serious runners of all ages out there getting excercise and enjoyo=ing the outdoors

2nd of about 60

Monday, June 9, 2014

6/7/14 Green River Marathon

I ran this last year and it was OK but I did not care for the course.  Last year I tried to run fast and had a major meltdown.  That probably affected my attitude about the race.  I decided to come back and just have fun.  I ran hard at NODM six days ago so I expect to have a slow one today.  4:45 sounds about right.

It is still a free race, with plenty of aid stations every 2.5 miles.  It is point to point, so I drive to the finish at Alki Beach in West Seattle, and hope to find a ride to the start.  Last year it was no problem.  This year it takes a little longer, but I do get a lift.

Mostly sunny and it is going to get warm.  Nice enough at the 8:30 start.

Start - Number 8 sharpied onto my arm (why waste money on race bibs?) and soon we are off on the paved trail along the river.  I fall in with Maniac Jay who I had not met before.  We talk most of the way to mile 5, then he gets ahead.

Mile 5-13.1 - Running with Micaela.  We miss our friend Tracy who could not make it today. Running faster than I should.  It started with Jay, and now Micaela, going at a very steady but unwise pace.  I know that I am setting myself up for another epic blow up.  But I feel really good.  No aches and no soreness from the last race.  I  have been a step behind Micaela most of the way and trying to bring myself to go slower.  Now very suddenly she starts walking (before an aid station) and tells me to keep going.  I do continue running but am now able to slow the pace some.  Micaela will finish just a few minutes behind me.

Mile 13.1 - 21 - Setting my own pace.  Warming up but not too hot.  I am pouring some water on my head and I am glad that I have a small hand held bottle.  Remembering where I blew up last year and every step onward I feel happier that this is going better.  Just a long ugly stretch of course and then the nice Alki beach front.  First part of the ugly stretch is a long straight shot on the side of the highway.  I can see an exit sign far ahead and decide to try to go that far with no walk breaks.  I make it, no problem.  I continue running and only walk a bit later when I need to take a gel.  I have walked through the aid stations and walked while taking an S!Cap every 5 miles and gel every 7 miles.  Past Pedro's Tire Shop.  Now wait at a cross walk and then up the steepest hill on the course.  I run most of it and it is not as bad as last year.  The next couple of miles go really well.  Other than the heat, I am doing fine.  Catch early starters Tim and Wendy.  Tim tries to get Wendy to run with me but she does not want to leave her Dad yet.  Next I catch up to Joe and Nikki.  They have their dog and are helping a friend to his first marathon.  I would never pick this as a first marathon, but it is legit and he will get it done.

Mile 21 - 26.2 - Another wait at a crosswalk.  Wendy catches up to me.  She decided to do some running after all.  We are about the same in marathon times recently, but since she took the early start and has been walking with her Dad she is much fresher than I am.  But we run together for a long way.  It is great company and I am surprised that we just talk and I am able to run all the way up the big hill and a good couple of miles without walking.  We do have to stop forever at a traffic light.  So what I expected to be miserable miles to the finish turn out to be most pleasant.  Monte sighting.  I decide to beat last years time of 4:24 and it looks like it will be no problem.  At about 24.5 I decide to walk a bit and she continues on.  It is a beautiful day along the waterfront, lots of people out, but no one gets in the way of our race.  I can see far ahead to the finish and make it without any problems.  So happy to have no pains or super low energy events.  Since I felt good, and had company most of the way, I did not mind the ugly course as much as I had last year.  I actually feel like I could come back and run this one again.  26.19 on the GPS

63rd place of 168
Race#328, marathon or ultra#112, Green River Marathon#2, 100th marathon in Washington State

Monday, June 2, 2014

6/1/14 North Olympic Discovery Marathon

4th time here, but the last time was in 2011.  Course change for this year finally eliminates the big loop in Sequim and starts farther out on the North Olympic Discovery paved trail.  We will start in Blyn, at the tribal community center, then it is an almost straight west route to Port Angeles.  Clouds will burn off early, it will warm up, be very bright and I will get sunburned on my shoulders.

Jody is running the 10K.  We had a fun day yesterday hiking to the Sol Duc Falls and enjoying the famous Sol Duc hot springs.  Jody gets me to the shuttle bus on time for the long ride to Blyn.  Nice indoor waiting area. Chat with Deb and Ginger.  Pose for the Maniac photo.

Start - We start on a road and soon narrow down to the trail.  There are pacers and I decide to stay behind the 4:00 pacer.  I would love to break 4 hours today, but am very unsure of what I can do.  After running conservatively in the last few marathons and ultras, I am going to go for it today.

Mile 0.5 - With Ginger.  Over a bridge and halfway through it starts to bounce up and down.  It does not look like the kind of bridge that would wobble, and it takes me a few steps to realize that it is the bridge and not my legs giving out.  It just gets scary with a huge buckle when I am safe on the other side.

Mile 2 - 4:00 group is getting away so I pick up the pace and leave Ginger behind.  I won't see her again until she finishes 3 minutes behind me.  There is a fairly large group with Josh the 4:00 pacer.  I do not like being in so close, so I hang with them about ten feet back. 

Mile 3 - Hillier than I expected.  Fairly major uphill.  Then a steep down to a creek bed and steeply up.  Josh's strategy is to run an even pace the whole way.  The uphill is so steep that I just can not stay with him.  I have to speed up later to get back even.  He also will not slow at the aid stations and I like to take my time there.  Even when we are just running along at 9:10 pace, it seems fast to me.  I am pretty sure that I am setting myself up for a bad second half.  This pace right now, while doable, seems a little to hard to maintain for 26 miles.

Mile 5-8 Long straight stretch on the road through Sequim.

Mile 9 - Back to farm land.  Lots of sunshine and warm.  Pass a pair of bald eagles perched together in a tree.  Right turn and some wind in our faces.  I suggest to a first time marathoner, Ariel, that she get up closer to the pack and draft us for this section.  Another guy in our pack looks young.  I ask his age, 16, and I compliment him on his smart running for this first marathon.  He is sticking to Josh when I know that he could have gone out faster.

Mile 16 - Still all hanging together in the hot sun.  I know that there are 5 miles of torture ahead and then 5 easy miles.  For the first steep creek bed I charge ahead of the group on the downhill to put a little time in the bank for the immediate uphill.  It is very steep down and hard to run effectively.  I do get ahead but halfway up the hill I am pretty much walking and Josh comes prancing past.  He says that I will catch up to him, but alas I am starting to struggle.

Mile 18 - I have been fighting to catch up to 4:00.  I really have tried.  But tightening legs and a little nausea are slowing me down.  My head is a little fuzzy and I have this fear that if I really push it I could end up on the ground.  There is still far to go.  I remember 2011, falling apart right here as well.  MM1 and MM111 passed me here.  I had given  up on a 4:00 that day, but rallied later and finished in 3:59.  So I should not quit quite yet.  I struggle on.

Mile 20.5 - The final and steepest creek crossing.  After the twisty uphills of miles 18-20, I am really feeling it and I walk much of the uphill out of the creek.  It should get easier from here.

Mile 21- The nice long downhill, but I am too out of it to really enjoy it.  Inner thighs are tight.  I am starting to pass more and more half marathon walkers.  I am taking walk breaks myself but at times I get into a nice slow running groove.  For every marathoner that is passing me, I am passing about ten halfers, so it is not as depressing as it could be.

Mile 23 - Long view along the coast to the finish line.  I pass the 16 year old who is walking.  Leapfrog another guy who started out very fast and is having an epic crash.  Ariel catches up to me.  The hills did her in too but now she has rallied.  As I continue having to take short walk breaks she will finish strong, three minutes ahead of me.  The final miles are a mix of suffering with companions and enjoying the scenery.  Another bald eagle.  I am also working hard, just not moving very fast.

Mile 25 - The 4:10 pacer catches me.  I ask her what took her so long.  I am able to run with her for about a quarter of a mile, then I really need a short break.  I still have hopes of beating 4:10 as I work out the last mile. 

Mile 26.2 - 4:10 slips away, but the crowd at the finish encourages me and I finish in good spirits. 26.12 on the GPS.  I had been careful the whole way to run the tangents.  I wish that I could have been faster but I am OK with this time.  It is my fastest marathon in a year.  Now to rest up, I am registered for the Green River Marathon in 6 days.  I will relax and run a slow one there for sure.

Marathon or ultra#111
Race# 327