4th time here for this 5th annual event. Three loops means that I will have completed the course 12 times after today. I should not take any wrong turns and I should know how to approach the course. Last year was my slowest time at 6:26. Splits were not good, so this year I will run the first loop slower.
Looking like great weather. Dry and a nice temperature. Warmish for a Fall run. Lots of hugs and kind words about my brother, from my Maniac family. It really means a lot. Not so emotional today though, I will just run long and have a good time.
Yellow vest this year and I look forward to the new mug. It is my go to mug at work and I replace it every year with my new Defiance one.
Yes, the Rogue Wave is here and she is a little out of shape so we are evenly matched. We will start off together.
Loop 1 - (2:02) - Huge for a trail race with the 15K and 30K runners. We start out at a good spot though and only pass when it is easy to do so. Trails in great shape. I wanted to run about 11:30 per mile, but we are doing 12s and that feels faster than it should. I am worried that it is going to be a bad day. RW ducks off for a minute and right then I pass a woman with a cool Maniac shirt with stars on the back. We talk, I find out that she is from Portland, so I ask if she knows Amanda Fritz. She not only knows of her, but really knows her. Fun to chat for a bit and then I move ahead. RW catches back up. Walk the uphills, try to keep drinking and eating, but I am not counting calories like maybe I should. Ravens calling in the Ewok forest. Now the long flat terrific trail that bores me and I think is the worst part of the course. I guess because there are no landmarks, it all looks the same for a long way. Runnable but tiresome. Out to the road, then the fun steep descent with ropes to hold on to. My slowest ever first loop, which was the plan, but not feeling like I held back very much. Perhaps 4 marathons and a ten mile race in seven weeks was a bit much.
Loop 2 - (2:06) - The dreaded second loop. I usually come apart here. Today is not so bad. Ravens calling in the Ewok forest again. When I get to the last flat 4 miles, I know that I have 40 or more minutes to go. It helps to realize that the distance is that long and I have a decent run here. Towards the end I can sense someone coming on strong. It is the race winner, Mike Lyons, lapping me. I cheer for him, amazing talent. On to the road and the roped cliff is a little tougher. At the finish, lots of people are done with their shorter races and I do not feel like running a third loop. Better not linger here, I head out after filling up the water bottle and grabbing some snacks.
Loop 3 - (2:17) - Somewhere I lost RW but she is back with me now. We run together for a bit. I expect her to take off ahead, knowing how tired I feel, but she is also flagging. Still one of my favorite people to run with. We have run out of conversation, but that is fine. And although it is great to have someone at your pace, if at any time one of us wants to move ahead, we do so. She gets a little ahead now, but then I catch up and pass her for good. She will finish about 2 minutes behind me. A mile before the mid loop aid station I start to really struggle. Some nausea, tired legs. Walk breaks. Mama and baby deer just off the trail. Refuel at the aid station and head out for the last half. Mostly alone. Ravens are now making very strong and strange vocalizations. Much louder. This section is now renamed the Ravenwood. Walk up the Achilles Hill and it is not so bad. Look back and no one behind me. Down a long way, then up and finally out to the last flat bit. I look back and a woman is coming on strong. I should just stop here and let her go by, but the trail is wide so she can pass whenever, and I might as well push it for 50 feet or so until she catches me. I set off running at a faster pace and somehow manage to keep it up. I have found some kind of groove, powered by the fact that I can hear this person ten feet behind me. Make her earn it I am thinking. A half mile turns into a mile or more of this. I am amazed at how long I can keep it up. Finally I say something to her, like "You know that as soon as you pass me I am going to start walking" She says "No! Keep running, I am feeding off you" or something like that. We go on like this for another mile. Not super fast, but perhaps my best running ever at mile 27-28. Finally I fall apart and she gets by me. Those two miles were way faster than they would have been, had I been alone. Pass two more runners and I am well ahead of them before the ropes. But I pick my way so carefully in the last section that they get right behind me before I am all the way down. On the promenade, I can run again and finish strong, not letting then catch me. My split time for this loop is slower, but not as bad as in previous years. And if I remember right, only two people passed me in the second half of this loop, and I passed two people.
There is a differential between chip and my watch time, which I started when I crossed the mat. I think that the chips were not recorded at the start. Either way I barely beat last year's time, which I find better than being slower.
I am prepared with a towel and dry shoes for the post race tradition of soaking the legs in Puget Sound. Slice of pizza and call it a day. It is a hard race, but logistically easy and remains one of my favorites. Now a little break from marathons, with a half in three weeks and the next marathon in about six weeks. Hopefully I will get some meaningful training in.
6:25:11 by my watch, 6:26:05 chip time.
47th place of 83
Race #340, marathon or ultra#117, Defiance 50K #4