Sunday, April 26, 2015

4/26/15 Capitol Peak 55K

I had such a great time here last year that I just had to sign up again.  It does mean 3 marathons or ultras in 3 consecutive weeks, but I really want to do each of them.  This is week two and I would like to save something for Tacoma next week.  There is a new, tougher course this year so I can not compare my time from last year anyway.  Last year I finished in seven and a half hours, so it will be a long day today.

Rainshadow running has taken over the event.  Cost more than doubled and it was switched to a Sunday.  But I am over that now and ready to have a good run.  6AM start for the 50 miler. They are off before I pull into the Tacoma Cruisers property to check in and start running at 8AM

Sixty something people registered in each race.  May rain later today.  For now it is cool and mostly cloudy/foggy, but not too bad.  I will wear a jacket and tie it around my waist as it warms up.  Say hi to Roger and Kurt and then we start.

Mile 1 - steep uphill and rocky so lots of walking. As in every long run in Capitol Forest there will be a huge diversity of terrain and trail.  It is almost 9 miles from the start to to Capitol Peak and it is a little discouraging to be going downhill now.  Back up again.  Lots of early walking and I started very far back so no one is passing me.  I like the easy pace just behind a couple of people, including Evan from Oly.

Mile 4.1 - Water only aid station.  Short bit on the logging road and a quick turn onto a trail.  This looks familiar and Evan mentions the Mountain Marathon.  I did not know for sure where we would overlap, but here it is.  Fun to run here where I was six weeks ago.  Should be easy going for a couple of miles and then the grunt to the top.  Pass the little bridge where that woman almost pushed me off of, when I startled her at MM.

Mile 6.5 - Out onto a dirt road. Off of the MM course.  Long uphill climb.  Jog some, walk some, pass a couple of people.  Sharp right turn onto an abandoned narrow road.  Obstacles to go over.  Then easy running to the "Grunt".  Much shorter grunt section than at MM.  Take my time and feeling good.  Reach the top of Capitol Pea and have a look around.  I can see Mount Adams, St Helens, Rainier and Baker. 

Mile 8 - Now it should be just down the hill to the aid station.  But we go down and down the road.  It is farther than I thought it would be.  Nice to finally get there, stock up (PB+J) and head to the Cresttline Trail.

Mile 10 - After a few bumps it is on to the smooth gentle downhill Crestline Trail.  I love this rock free and mud free route.  This was my favorite part last year.  But with the downhill I start to feel soreness in my quads.  This is the lingering effect of the hilly Bremerton Marathon.  Downhills will gradually get more and more difficult and uncomfortable.

12.8 - Wedekin aid station.  Stop for a minute or two here.  Great volunteers and snacks.  Then on more downhill to Falls Creek.  I ran all of this part last year and enjoy the waterfalls and runnable trail.  Into the burned out clear cut area, then back into the woods.  Quads getting worse, it should be easier going down these hills.  Hit a bit of a low point.  After the next aid station it will be a huge uphill back to the top.  I could drop out there and save my legs for next week.  I really consider it.  Finally I decide that chances are good that I would have to wait a long while and it is a long drive back to the start.  I may be near last place in my race, but there are plenty of 50 milers out there and I have lots of time to make the cut offs.   I could pretty much walk it in from here and still get the finish.  So I won't dawdle at this aid station and keep on moving.

Mile 19.2 - Quick break at Falls Creek and get back out there.  Now the Greenline Trail back up to the top.  Plodding along.  Nice trail.  Then the large steep clear cut with switchbacks.  All alone, but every 10-20 minutes a fast 50 mile runner comes past me.  Climbing up the switchbacks.  Jen Edwards sighting (pacing a friend).  I can look down and see runners five and ten minutes behind me, now that I am near the top. Cap Peak still looks a lot higher up. Really more like a hike than a race now, but it levels off and I get running again.  Into the forest and more switchbacks up the last slog to the road.

Mile 24.7 - Enter the road and see the aid station ahead.  So glad to be at the top.  Even better news is that we are directed to stay on the road and go around the grunt, rather than quite a bit more up and down.  Road is level and then slopes down.  Soon it connects with where we went up so many hours ago.  With fresh legs I could run so fast here, but my quads are sore and my feet are uncomfortable.  No real pains, but I can not move as fast as I'd like.  Run slowly a long way then walk a little.  Should not be walking on a road downhill, but that is how it is.  Now I think of the end.  Finish the road, hit the trail that is the same as the MM course, then I will be at the last aid station.  Trail is uneventful, just slow.  Think I could beat 8 hours, but maybe not.

Mile 28.7 - Last water stop.  Fill up.  Evan and his friend pass me for good.  Down slowly for two miles.  No tripping, not even close to a fall today. Watch battery dies at 7 hours 35 minutes.  50 mile woman passes me, but now is the last big uphill and I pass her.  She will get past me as soon as we start going down again.  Then a 50K runner who I thought would be slower than me, come cruising past.  Just a few more miles, and people are "sprinting" to the finish, but I just can not get the legs going.  It is fine. Must be close but I don't know the miles or time now.  Finally hear some finish line cheers and isn't that a great sound?  Still a ways to go, but finally make it to the end.

I love the opportunity to go for such a long run in Capitol Forest.  But I do not want to not be near my best for this one or Tacoma.  I will do something different next year.  Skip this and run a strong Tacoma?  Or skip Tacoma and Bremerton and run the 50 miler here?  We shall see.

8:13:04 (6th longest race of my life)
40th of 48
Capitol Peak Ultra#2

Sunday, April 19, 2015

4/18/15 Bremerton Marathon

Inaugural event.  I had been thinking of running Wenatchee or Whidbey this weekend, but opted for this new race.  Much cheaper and logistically easier than the other races.  Jody and Nikki are going away this weekend, so I have little incentive to hurry home.  I can go to packet pickup on Friday, preview the course and stay at Hood Canal, with an easy drive to the race in the morning.

Maybe I should not have driven the course.  The web site said that it was hilly and my drive sure confirmed it.  I also did not care for the busy roads, hopefully they will be quieter in the morning. With the hills and many road crossings, with roads open to traffic, I basically gave up on a fast time the day before the race. The lack of shoulder on the roads was also a concern.  Plus there are lots of turns.  Hopefully it will be well marked.  I was able to stop and take some photos.

I get to the start early enough to get a good parking spot.  Sunscreen on, it is going to be bright and warm.  I will start with a long sleeve shirt over my MM singlet.  Nice to see some MM friends here.  A little bit larger event than I expected and that is good.  There is a half relay, some running the first half of my race, then handing off to others for the second half.

Start - We start right on time.  And start going uphill.  From sea level, we climb and go over this bridge.

Mile 1 - Down off the bridge, then a steep uphill.  Now a turn and a long fairly steep uphill.  Some people are walking.  I probably should be.  I am going slow and feel like I am working way too hard for the first mile.  Downhill is nice, now up again.

The pictures do not do the hills justice!

Mile 3 - Long downhill now.  Pick up the pace and get it where I want it to be at this point.  I want to gradually get faster and reach about 9/mile around mile 5 or so.  But these hill are confounding my plans.  Nice scenery, but no shoulder to run on.

Mile 7 - More downhill and I got my pace to 9/mile overall.  Now, how long can I hold that?  Back and forth with a few guys.  Great little aid stations.  They have 11 stations on course.  I am carrying my small bottle and will use it as it gets warmer.  Now at Brownsville and a nice run along the water.  

 Mile 8.5 - A couple of runners ahead of me are crossing the road and turning right onto a major highway.  I think this is correct but I do not see any signs.  The course is marked with occasional blue arrows on the ground.  Also small signs on stakes for the turns.  If you are looking for them, they are easy to see, but as the brain gets fuzzy I could see myself missing a turn.  I am about to pull out the turn by turn instructions provided with our numbers, that I had stashed in a pocket, but the guy ahead of me beats me to it.  He is carrying the route too.  Then I see the arrow and I know that we are OK.  We leave the quiet roads and scenery and hit the highway.  Wide shoulder at least, but not the funnest place to run.  Turn off onto a pedestrian trail, up and then over the highway.  On to another busy road.  Running on the sidewalk now.

Mile 10 - Major hill here.  Steep and long.  Some people walking.  I trudge along but it zaps me.  Then a steep downhill.  Have to wait for a few seconds at a crosswalk.  Down more.  Busy road, lots of big stores.  Right turn, but a woman has missed it and the guy just in front of me is yelling to her.  She does hear and turns around.  Now a short bit on a gravel trail.  The trail winds back to that busy road and we have to wait at a cross walk.  Trail continues on the other side of the road, winding along the water.  Great Blue Heron sighting.   Pace at 9:05/mile after that hill but holding it OK.

Mile 13.1 - 1:59 on the clock.  Half marathon relay exchange so lots of activity here.  Finally feeling hot.  Long sleeve come off.  Water starts being poured on the head now and then.  Been a long time since I have done that.   Now back along the side of a busy road with fast moving cars.  Decent shoulder.  Hills.

Mile 17 - Loop around Erlands Point.  Little hill and zero shoulder.  Few cars though so that is good.  Pedro sighting.  I always like a little out and back.  Here we do a lollipop. 

Mile 18 - Catch up with Sha-run who is running the half.  I am starting to fade now.  Walk just a little, try to keep running though.  We will run together and a little back and forth till a mile to go when she will pass me for good.  In the mean time it is nice to have her and a few others close by.

Mile 19 - Off the point and back to the highway.  Super long and discouraging hill at mile 20. Have to walk a little. Give up on the 9:10 pace (4 hours).  I will just work hard to get this over with and not worry about the time.  Picture of the hill from yesterday shows a rare moment with no traffic.

Mile 21 - After every long uphill we get blessed with a nice downhill.  Great to be able to run all of this.  Now we hit the more urban part of town.  We will run on sidewalks, watching for blue arrows and cars.

Mile 22 - Every time there is a driveway to a store, the sidewalk drops dramatically.  Then up about a foot on the other side.  Not good for my stride, but too busy to run on the road.

Mile 24 - Near the shipyard and glad to be on a quiet street.  Small hills and then "are you kidding me?"  Steepest hill yet.  At least it is fairly short, maybe a quarter of a mile though.

Mile 25 - Close to the ferry terminal, more downtown sidewalk running and crosswalks.  Last little up and then we will go down to the park.  Slightly twist my ankle on a curb.  That could have been bad but I stay up and nothing hurts.  No aches or pains today and that is a wonderful thing.  Down to the park. Hoping to beat 4:10 now.

Mile 26 - People around sort of directing me where to go.  The paved trail in the park curves around the picnic area and finally there is the finish and clock.

Mile 26.2 - 26.08 on the GPS.  Cheer a few in, walk to my car, then come back and stick around for a while.  Nice to sit with Double L, LW and MM Rufus enjoying the sun and cheering for those still coming in.

Fastest marathon in two years and I wonder what I could have done on a smoother course.  Higher mileage running seems to be helping with endurance as I did not hit a major wall today....just some major hills.  I liked the event and it is a good easy option for me.  I still want to run Whidbey and Wenatchee though.

21st of 88
Race#353, Marathon or ultra#123, Marathon #99

Saturday, April 4, 2015

4/4/15 Run Like a Fool 5K

5th annual event and my 3rd time here.  So tired of the Capitol Lake loops course, but this is a Club Oly event on a Saturday and there will be lots of friends here.  Pre race sign up was $28 and included a long sleeve shirt.

Prior to the race I counted up all of the racing I have done on this course.  The five times at the 12 hour run are a mind meld.  Add the recent Miles for Music, previous Fools race, Road-end-run race, and the old Run for Rhett course and today will mark my 173rd and 174th racing lake loop.  No wonder I am a little bored of it.

Its a Fool race and I think it will be funny to wear an old bright yellow Pacer shirt from the CCM.  I also put on a Club Oly beanie.  So fun to see Bill wearing the same thing!  We did not plan it really.  Bill has lost a lot of weight, beat me by a minute here a few years ago, and should be close today.

So many helpful volunteers and so well organized.  No lines at packet pickup, despite a record number of runners.  We start right on time.  I did get in a decent two mile warm up.  Cool and windy.  Cloudy and sort of damp in the air.  I need to keep moving before the race to avoid the chills.

Start - I end up starting right behind Bill and we are near the front.  Off we go faster than we should, but not so bad.  Bill is ahead and I will let him go if he gets much faster.  Soon enough he settles in and I catch up and run next to him. 

Mile 1 - Feeling great.  I did not look at my watch at this split though.  The big thing about this course is that the paved and gravel trail, while wide, is open to the public and lots of people come here to run, walk, jog, walk their dog, or have a family outing walking with their dogs and completely blocking the route oblivious to the fact that there is a race going on.  This would be a PR course if not for the human and dog obstacles.  I have accepted that this is how it is here and take it as a challenge.  Right now I am behind four young racers who are slowing a bit, Bill at my side and coming towards us are two people walking a dog.  I make my move, passing the four and dodging the pedestrians and dog.  Pleased with my pick up I am able to go pretty fast before settling back to the pace I was at before.

Mile 1.3 - Tammy sighting.  She is volunteering and as she yells for Bill, I know that he is right behind me.

Mile 1.6 - Into the wind. Around the bend.  Over the bridge. Onto the grass bit.  Speed up on the sidewalk.  Feeling like I can pick it up at any time, but not for long.  A little surge to get past a guy.  Now lots of 5K walkers and slow runners that I am lapping.  Keep up the pace and happy to see that I am at 7:25/mile, faster than last week.

Mile 3.0 - Looks like I will beat Bill.  Final sprint to the finish and no one is close enough to catch me at that speed.

Finish - 3.1 on the GPS.  Really happy to be about 25 seconds faster than last week.  Everything felt good today.  Now it is cold.  I grab a sweatshirt, jog over to Tammy and watch the others come in.  Seems to be getting even colder.  We walk back to the finish area.  Hot coffee! And Muffins!  Lots of snacks.  And the results are ready so quickly.  Lots of raffles but I do not win.  I do get a first in age group water bottle with two gu packs inside.

This ends my third week of trying to run over 50 miles each week.  I ran 56 the first week.  53 the second week.  That week I felt tired and cut my run short on Friday.  The Saturday 5K went fine but a little slow.  This week I decided that 50 might be too much.  I took off completely on Friday, plus the usual Wednesday rest day.  After the race today I end the week with 47 miles but a faster 5K time.  I did not quite make that goal, but I did average over 50/week during that time.  Average weekly mileage since January 1st is 43 miles, way higher than any previous three month period.  No race next weekend, then three marathons in three weeks.

17th of 304
Race#352, 5K#91, RLaF#3