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