Sunday, May 31, 2015

5/30/15 Goldsborough Creek 7 Mile Run

This race is part of the Shelton Forest Festival and I have been wanting to run it for years. Happy that I am finally able to be here.  Great low price and a fund raiser for the hospital.  Odd distance that I have never raced before.  Also odd that it is a point to point course.

Small event, but there is a seven mile walk that started at 7AM.  Also a two mile walk and two mile race that start at 8AM with my race.  We stay at the Canal so in the morning it is a fifteen minute drive to the start and I find great parking near where Railroad Ave is closed down due to the race and parade.  I think that by being part of the Forest Festival the costs of the race are kept low.  "Main Street" finish with the road closed as the parade will start after our race.  Also we have Mason County Transit to bus us out to the start.  The start is only 2 miles away and I consider just jogging out there.  But I am not exactly sure where I am going and the buses are right there to take us.  I get to the start line at 7:30.

Plenty of time for a good warm up.  Only a few people here that I know.  Nice to see Missy again.  And Richard Olafson (81 years old and will race the two miles in 18 minutes and change) and Barb.

Start - Brief word from the RD and then something a little different.  The seven mile racers walk a ways down the road, just around a bend.  The two mile racers are facing us but we can not see them.  We start just a few minutes late, when the signal goes off between us.  We rush forward on the right side of the road as the two milers come at us on the left side of the road.  I like things like this as I know they are making the courses an accurate distance.  Now we shift to the left and run away from town.

Mile 1 - (7:25) The first five miles will be on this country road.  Open to traffic, but no cars.  Cones with warnings to drivers on one side and words of inspiration (and sponsor recognition) facing us.  Small race and some are already far ahead but I am in a small group.  Passing and being passed.  Wondering if I am going too fast.

Mile 2 - Starting to feel that negativity that comes with running so hard.  Some ups and then some downs and I keep the pace fairly steady but I wonder how long it will hold.  So hard to know what to do for a seven mile distance.  Aid station and I slow to get some water.  Now a longer uphill.  Scenic country course though, I really like running here.

Mile 3 - After the hill it is gentle down and although I feel like I am pushing it too much, I keep up the effort and pass a couple of people.

Mile 3.5 - Halfway there and feeling good.  Relaxed but giving a hard effort.  Then suddenly out of nowhere a serious upper back spasm.  Wow! That hurt and it throws me off my game.  Where did that come from?  Can I keep running?  What should I do?  I keep moving but I also raise my arms and try other stretching things.  One guy I had just past gets ahead of me.  I am moving along, but it seems slower.  I am surprised that the others are not catching me.

Mile 4 - Back hurts but not like the huge spasm.  I can run with it.  Just a lot less fun.

Mile 5 - Slowed some but still running OK.  Pass my first walker.  Then on to Railroad Ave and under Highway 101.  A few cars coming at us, only one is going too fast and too close.  I had been hoping to at least be under 56 minutes.  Under 54 would be great.  Looks like I should be in the 53 range, so even with the back issue it has been a good morning.

Mile 6 - Soon the straight shot on the closed part of Railroad Ave.  Still looking at the watch.  Finally stop thinking about time and start a final kick to the end.

Mile 7 - Finish - Strong finish. 6.98 on the GPS.  Happy with my time.  Now I can rest and stretch out my back, try to make it feel better.  Twisting right or left brings on more spasms so I do not do that.

Watch the others come in.  Bib tags are posted on boards right away.  4th in my age group, so no ribbon. Watch the kids race.  Now the raffles.  Some really good prizes, but alas I do not win anything.  I would run this one again for sure.

53:00 (7:35 per mile pace) 
15th place of about 58 runners

Monday, May 18, 2015

5/17/15 Capital City Marathon

Here again.  This time I am not only pacing, but have organized the pace groups.  Most from Club Oly, but I recruited some solids from my MM friends who I know could go the whole way.  Also organized pacers for the half.

Still thrilled with my Tacoma time, I have no problem giving up a fast effort today to support the race, but still get to run it.  I did not taper at all, figuring this will get me lots of miles for the week (62) and help my endurance.

Weather looking great.  Cloudy and cool, the sun will threaten to come out later but it will never get super hot.

Leading the pacers is a bit of a distraction though.  My fault, I forget to eat the banana that I packed for 30 minutes before the start.  I did have a bagel on the drive in.  I also do not drink as much water as usual and I forget to use the bathroom just before the start.  I strive for the lowest stress on race morning and this is way more frazzled than I am used to.

Marilou has called in sick and Missy is not so comfortable pacing 5:00 by herself.  A last minute change, we recruit Mike Kuhlmann to don a balloon and pace with Missy the first half. I had planned to run the first half at 4:30 pace with the Rogue Wave and then when Jenny meets us at the half I would wait for Mike Mahany running 4:45 and join him.  Instead I will trust Mike to do the 4:45 solo and join Missy for the second half at 5:00.

After group photos, juggling assignments, balloon and singlet hand outs and making sure that the second half people have their transportation arranged, I can concentrate on the race itself.  Line up at 6:45AM and it is fun to see the different pacers all in place.

Start - With the Rogue Wave, we start our watches on gun time and it is 15 seconds before we are over the mat.  Crowded.  Some chatty folks.  People counting on us to hit the paces.  We hit mile 1,2 and 3 right were we should be.  Amy Wineka sighting.  At mile 3, someone behind cheers for us as we are on perfect pace.

Mile 5-7 - Good to have two of us as we can alternate bathroom breaks and still have someone running the even pace.  Super Marie is with us.  Into the countryside.  Donkeys and horses.  Two giant shaggy cows.  One cow is scratching her head and neck against a large tree.  Nice time with the Rogue Wave.

Mile 9 - That huge downhill and my right foot/ankle starts to hurt.  Somewhat suddenly and worse than usual.  I have had this discomfort off and on for what seems like a few years now.  Funny, I can run a 3:59 at Tacoma or do a 10 mile tempo run and have no problem.  Then some day I will be out for an easy run or even walking and it can flare up.  On the uphill it will get a little better.  Later it will gradually get worse.  I will try to not overcompensate and hurt the left foot.  My theory is that there is some swelling going on around the area where I had a "baker's cyst" a few years back.  Maybe some scar tissue that gets inflamed once in a while.  In the mean time we make it up the big hill and continue on.

Mile 13.1 - 2:14 on the clock. We are one minute early and that is great.  There is Jenny, ready to go so I bid farewell to the Rogue Wave and wait for Missy.  The 15 minutes goes by quickly.  It is fun to cheer people on and I see Mike right on time for 4:45 pace.  I join up with Missy and Mike K, and now I get to run at a minute per mile slower than I ran the first half. 

Mile 15 - Off leash dog (no owner) snarling at us as we run by.  Very distracting but thankfully there are two vehicles slowly coming past us at the same time so the dog stays on his side of the road.  Ahead of us we had seen the dog really go after a runner.  Woodard Bay.  Now the steep uphill.  Mike has had hamstring issues and it is bugging him now.  He drops from pacing, but I am thankful that he paced the first half.  He gives me the balloon and I think that I tied it on.  As soon as I start running though, it slips away and into the air.

Mile 16-20 - Nice easy running and chatting with Missy.  She is strong and on task with a pace chart for every mile.  She could easily do this herself.  Except at about mile 20 her watch battery dies.  For the rest of the race she will call out the splits we should be at and I will check with my watch and adjust as needed.  We stay about 45 seconds to 2 minutes ahead of schedule.

Mile 21 - One runner who had been with me earlier and not said a word is now with us and ready to talk.  He admits to being under trained and slowing down.  But by talking with us, the next miles are nice and he stays with us.  Now the new section of the course.  The course has been tweaked a little.  I did not like how they made it sound like a good thing that we would not have the downhill on Legion Way.  Truth is that downhill is a little steep and it gets replaced with a more gradual and longer downhill.  Really nice change.  And great spectators on Puget Street.  One handing out spoonfuls of M and Ms.

Mile 22 - Heidi Perry aid station.

Mile 23 - Just me and Missy up the Eastside Hill. I feel fine except the foot.

Mile 24.5 - Catch a long legged young woman at the water station.  I had seen her while waiting at the half point, she looks really young.  We find out that she is 18.  And she is so tired.  We tell her to stay in front of us and she gets running at a pace a little faster than us.

Mile 25 - The young woman has stopped, but starts up again.  Then twice she stops and bends over.  She is not communicating much but seems OK, just exhausted, so we encourage her to go on.

Mile 25.5 - Now she stops again and walks off course onto the sidewalk.  We have two minutes in the bank and really should slow down.  I stop and gently push on her back and get her moving back on course.  I know for sure that she can do this and she gets moving again.

Mile 26 - The woman will make it ahead of us.  Missy and I slow even more but with no one behind us we continue on to cross the finish line.

Mile 26.2 - 26.5 on the GPS but don't tell anybody that and I know that some of that was from veering off course here and there and walking a bit as I waited at the half point.  Nice medal and surprise a really nice cap that I will wear for sure.  Out of the shoot I see the girl sitting in a chair, surrounded by friends and family.  I see how she is doing and she gets up and gives me a hug.  I am so glad that she does not hate me.  Great reports from all the pacers, makes me feel like it is worthwhile. 

Marathon or ultra#126
Capital City Marathon#12

Sunday, May 3, 2015

5/3/15 Tacoma City Marathon

Missed this one last year, so it is nice to be back for my seventh time.  Second time on the new course.

Other than having to wake at 3:45, this is easy to get to.  Actually I did not have to get up so early after all.  I found good parking and ended up on one of the first buses to the start.  It will be warm, but in the early dark it is cold out here.  I go to the hangar to wait in the warmth and see that it is not open this year. I have long sleeves and a beanie hat but I am feeling really cold, with little place to sit and 90 minutes till the start.  I find a curb and watch the later buses unload.  Here is Deb and then Tim who tells us that Marie is at their car and we could probably wait inside their vehicle.  We jump at the chance.  Marie is taking the early start but kindly lets us sit in her car until our start time.  Comfortable and warm and a nice time catching up with Deb.

This makes three in three weeks and I am not hopeful of having a fast time.  My plan is to stay behind the 4:00 pacer as long as I can.  It makes no sense to go in front of him as a sub 4:00 is improbable and it would not be wise to go faster than that.  I find the Rogue Wave just before the start and she has similar plans.

Start - Nod to my next door neighbors (father and son) who are running the half, that starts in an hour and away we go.  Crowded but runnable.  Behind 4:00 and 4:15 pacers but RW says to be patient, we will catch up to them on the bridge.

Mile 2 - Bright sun, sunglasses go on.  Glad that I left the long sleeves in my drop bag.  It is great running weather now.  Over the Narrows on a beautiful morning.

Mile 3 - This is so great.  I am very relaxed.  Running with my favorite racing pal.  I know the course.  I don't have to think about pace at all, just stay behind Ian the 4:00 pacer.  A few potholes to watch for, but nothing like last week's trail.

Mile 7 - Ian has put almost a minute in the bank.  At times I feel like I am going too fast, just trying to keep up.  Then he slows, often on a downhill, and it is easy to stay with him.

Mile 16 - After the Proctor Neighborhood, it is over to Point Defiance and the Five Mile Drive.  It is just a bit of work to stay with Ian, but everything feels good.  Taking gels and S!Caps and my stomach feels fine.  Pass MM#2.  Lots of MMs.  One woman from Illinois is marveling at our giant trees.  I mention the 500 year old tree that is coming up.  RW has slipped back.  I get closer to Ian and talk a bit with him and the two women that are staying with him.  Mostly just try to stay relaxed and hold the pace.  Better to run a few steps behind him and not get too chatty.

Mile 20 - Every mile Ian does some calculations and now he says that we are 48 seconds ahead of schedule.  Out of the park there is the short out and back in Ruston and it is fun to see those ahead and behind me.

Mile 21 - Ruston Way.  Not too warm yet and sometimes a little breeze at our backs.  RW has caught up!  Happy to see her.  Then she drops back again.  Passing lots of walking halfers now.  For the rest of the race I will have to think ahead about how to get around a walker or two together.  I get in a groove that I feel I can hold for a long time and it is right behind Ian.  My head is down a bit, I am just looking at the ground and the feet of the two runners ahead of me.  Not the most fun but it is getting the job done.  I start to think that I might be able to stay with the pacer the whole way.

Mile 22.5 - The dreaded overpass on Ruston way.  Its a giant bump in the road.  People walking.  As 4:00 gets ahead of me, one marathoner who is walking starts cursing that "there goes his time goal". I can sympathize and I wonder is this it for me too?  I could be really happy with a 4:03 or even 4:05.  It would be so easy to let Ian go.  But 3:59 is still in my grasp.  I dig deep, make some grunting noises and force myself to work harder than I thought possible.  Catch Ian on the downslope.  That was close, but my hope returns.  I even go in front of 4:00 pace, so that I can walk a water station and not get left behind.

Mile 24 - Really warm now.  The sun hits the road and the wall along the road, boxing the heat in.  Patches of shade feel so much cooler.  I perk up in the shade and melt in the heat.  Glad that I have been carrying  a small water bottle.  Water on the head is so cooling.  But 4:00 slips ahead again.  I think this is it.  But just where the half course splits off, there is Bart Yasso yelling at me to stay with my pacer.  Bart Yasso the writer for Runner's World.  The man has a world famous track interval workout named after him.  He is a running legend, who coincidentally shares with me 100 marathons and 25 ultras completed.  Spectators are so helpful to keep me going, but Bart Yasso takes the cake.  How can I not do as he tells me?  I pick it up and catch Ian.

Mile 24.5 - Now I really can not keep up.  Ian and the one woman who stayed close to him the whole way get farther ahead.  I can only hope that the 40 seconds we last had in the bank plus the 18 second differential in our chips starts will be enough cushion.  But there is this last hill and I start walking.

Mile 25 - Almost to the top of the hill.  Doubt 4:00 will happen but I am at 3:48 on my watch so a ten minute mile would make it real close.  Get running again.  Encourage a woman and we leap frog a bit.  Skip the last water station as I have water in the bottle and its just a mile to go.

Mile 25.5 - This long straightaway. So many traffic cones. I can see far ahead, the turn to the finish is too far away.  Depressing.  I start walking a bit.  Look at the watch and I am still on pace....barely.  Dig deep again.  I can't not try for it.

Mile 26 - Just before the turn to the downhill finish.  I want the sub 4 and that mark has given me incentive to run my best today.  I am really going to be happy with whatever happens.  Last look at the watch, right at the 26 marker (0.2 to go) and it reads 3:58:20.  Can I run a quarter mile in 1:40?  On the track when I am fresh yes.  This is less than that and downhill, with turns.  Again I have to try.

Mile 26.2 - The final sprint is crazy.  The finish line crowd is cheering.  I am going surprisingly fast but it is so far.  Run through the chip mats.  Stop my watch.  4:00:01!!  I am not disappointed at all.  There is a good chance that my chip time will be lower.  I was not that careful at the start and I might have taken a second or two to stop the watch after crossing the line.  And it really does not was a great day and finish time regardless.  Whoa, here is RW less than 30 seconds behind me.  She must have been stalking me the whole way.  Fun to have finish times so close.  We should be hugging, but we both seriously need to recover.  I sort of feel like passing out or vomiting.  RW is kinda hunched over and I wonder if she feels the same way.  We get over it quickly and neither needs medical aid.  It is so hot that we go find some shade to sit in for a minute.  With wet shirts and a breeze in the shade of this overpass we both get chilled quickly.  Then I see the results tent.  Plug my number into the lap top and there is my official chip time.....3:59:59.

I walk back to my car but take a longer route along the course, cheering friends.  Bart Yasso is coming toward me so I get to meet him and thank him for the encouragement. 

136 place of 460
Race# 355
Marathon or ultra#125, marathon #100, TCM#7