Monday, June 15, 2015

6/14/15 Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

My 5th time here, though it has been a couple of years.  This event now has grown to about 500 runners and sells out on the first day of registration.  I remember not being thrilled with the high registration fee, but that was so long ago I don't miss the money anymore.  I will get a T-shirt, nice medal and bus transportation to the start as well as a bus ride from the finish to the new parking area a couple of miles away.  Aid stations have gotten larger and staffed with volunteers.  Lots of helpful volunteers all over the place and it really is a well done event.

Up at 4AM and out of the house by 4:20.  Gets me to parking and the bus in plenty of time.  Cool at the summit, but I have a winter hat and long sleeves.  As soon as the sun rises above the mountains, it warms right up.  Hat and shirt go in drop bag to the finish.  Maniac Central, most of the cool people are here.

Tracy and I have the same plan, to follow the 3:50 pacer and hold on as long as we can.  I have run conservatively in marathons lately and I think it is time to try to be faster.  I feel like I am in shape to beat 4 hours, maybe do much better.  I won't know unless I try.  I ran 3:48 here one year and that is one of my 3:48 best times.  Tracy needs sub 4 for her BQ so she has real incentive.  We have been very close in times recently, so we will run together to start, but then do our own thing as the race unfolds.

Start- Last time I was here the race was chip timed but only at the finish.  Now I think that we have a new system, it is above us and will scan our bibs, so no mat.  But there is a scanner at the start.  I start my watch right away and it is about 15 seconds to get through the line, so that will hopefully be subtracted for my chip time.  Crowded out and back on the pavement, then dusty, rocky path.  Lisa Woods sighting

Mile 0.5 - Knuckle lights are on and into the tunnel we go.  Hoot for the echo.  Pace is so fast.  Trying to stay with 3:50.  Crowded and dark.  Really have to watch the footing.  Other than here, I have never done anything like this.  Trying to run safely.  Tracy is getting ahead, finishers reflective cape flapping into the dark.  I wait for an opening and move ahead when I can safely do so.

Mile 2 - Behind Tracy but ahead of the 3:50 pacer.  Running way faster than usual, almost out of breath. Maybe it is the altitude, or low levels of oxygen in the tunnel?  The light is getting bigger now but there is still a long way to go.  The light at the end of the tunnel gets bigger and bigger but takes so long to get through.

Mile 3 - Out at last.  Into the bright sun.  Fast transition here.  Knuckle lights off and into the bag that I carried through the tunnel.  Hand off to the the Prez, get a quick cup of water.  Tracy is still ahead but I catch up to her.  Two track dirt road.  Lots of stones in the middle and too many stones in the tracks.  It is really better to stay in a track.  Still crowded but eventually it thins out and we can run side by side.

Mile 5 - Running way too fast.  About 8:35/mile pace.  9:10 is a 4 hour finish.  8:40 is my 3:48 PR, 8:35/mile is a 3:45 finish.  But the 3:45 pacer is way ahead of us, so maybe my watch is off.  Then as the real 3:45 pacer passes us, I realize that I have been following the 3:40 pacer.  3:45 (MM Scott) goes past us quickly and we are left between 3:45 and 3:50.  We probably should slow down and get behind 3:50 since that was our aggressive plan, but we don't.  Running so fast that we can barely talk.  We pretty much just quietly push on.  Gentle downhill the legs are warming up and although it seems fast, it is not hard to go this pace.

Mile 8 - Tracy has to make a quick stop.  We are now averaging 8:31/mile, though still a ways behind the 3:45 pacer.  I slow a little bit and then go faster again.  Tracy does not catch back up and I have no idea how far she has fallen back.

Mile 9 - Sock rubbing on my right big toe.  Its feeling warm and I am probably getting a blister. It is not painful, so I just keep running.

Mile 13 - Take a little walk break and when I reach 13.1 miles I am just under 1:53.  That would mean a PR of 3:46 and I start thinking that it just could happen.  But I am probably fooling myself as there is a long way to go.  And it is getting warmer.

Mile 15 - 8:31/mile pace, catching up to the 3:45 pacer.  But my left foot is starting to hurt.  Plantar pain like I have not had in a few years.  Gradually gets worse.

Mile 16 - Left foot is a real concern now.  Right foot blister is doing fine.  Mostly running alone, friendly people though that I pass or get passed by.  Amazing scenery.

Mile 17 - Left foot has settled down.  Does not hurt nearly as much.  Just a little bother, but very runnable.

Mile 19 - Catch Scott at 3:45 pace.  I am smart enough to not pass him.  Enjoy patches of shade much more than the sun.  Start to tire and let Scott slip ahead.

Mile 21 - Tiring for real now.  Happy to make the turn off the trail.  Jill Hudson sighting, just when I am most discouraged and taking a walk break.  No PR for me today.

Mile 22 - The long flat sunny slog to the finish.  Been calculating that 10 minute miles will get me in at 3:54 and that is what I seem to be doing.  When I run I am going OK, but there are too many short walk breaks.  Leapfrogging others doing the same.  Some folks are really struggling.

Mile 23 - The 3:50 pacer passes me.  Would I be right here now if I had just stayed with him as was planned.  I can not say.  Anyway I just need to keep tromping along and I will have a decent finish time.

Mile 24 - It is warm now, but not oppressive.  Glad that I have the big water bottle and can pour water over my head with it, while drinking at the aid stations.  After a walk break it it harder to get running again.  Legs are stiffening up.

Mile 26 - Under Highway 90 and there is the finish.  Do the best I can to finish strong. Photo by Kay.

Mile 26.2 - 26.23 on the GPS.  Chip time will get me just under 3:55, my 14th fastest marathon.  Second best out of five times on this course.  The volunteer drapes the medal around my neck and then Tracy taps me on the shoulder.  She finished just a few steps behind me and got her BQ with 5 minutes to spare.

Take my time at the finish area.  Fun to recover and relax with fellow finishers.  Kay is here and she can text Jody, so I don't feel like I have to hurry back to my car.  When I do get back to my car I peel off my socks and am surprised at how large the blister is on my toe.  It is huge but has not popped.  Also my left foot/plantar is acting up again.

Monday - Wearing sandals all day and the blister is still intact.  I have been icing the other foot and am less worried about it than I was last night.  I think that I might not run the 5K scheduled for this Saturday.  It would be smart to give up on the mileage game I have been playing, at least for a while.  The warning signs are there that I need to protect my foot.  Good thing I don't have any marathons planned until September.  Next race might not be until Lakefair in mid July.  If so, this was a good way to finish off the racing season.

201st place of 495
Race#359, Marathon or Ultra#127, LatEotT #5

Monday, June 8, 2015

6/6/15 Run for Rett 5K

Third time here at this 6th annual event.  I really like this little race. It is a fundraiser, but also raises awareness about Rett Syndrome.  There are Rett families and Rett girls there and it is a fun sunny atmosphere. Tumwater Historical Park is a good place to stage a small race. $30 Day of race includes a T-shirt, a sturdy shopping bag and a wrist band for my collection.

Lots of sun today.  9AM start and it is warming up.  I get here early enough to jog the whole course.  Joe Schrum sighting.  I checked my times for previous years (22:21 in 2010) and I think 23:01 on this new tougher course in 2013.  I feel like I should be able to be in the 22 something range.

Martinho is here, saying that he has done no speedwork lately.  Should be a good race, but I expect him to beat me on the uphill after mile 2.  There is a clown here with giant clown shoes.  I tell her that I like her shoes and she says that she got them at a big shoe sale.

Start - Small group of regular racers, a couple of people who will be way ahead of me.  Lots of slower runners and walkers.  There is also a 3K run and walk.  The start is on the wide part of the parking area and we have a good tenth of a mile before we skinny down to the paved path.  I go out fast.

Mile 0.5 - With Martinho.  Around the bend then onto Deschutes Parkway sidewalk.  Surge to pass a couple of people.  Really going too fast.

Mile 1 - 7:09  Not feeling great but the speed is there.  Keep trying to go fast and this is not great fun.  Martinho a few steps ahead of me.  Two people I had passed now get past me, looking comfortable.  Slow for water at the turn around.

Mile 2 - 14:49 - Gradually catch up to two women who are just out running, not part of the race.  Wow, they are going fast for a training run.  Huff and puff past them, right on Martinho's tail.

Mile 2.3 - But now comes the hill and more open sunshine.  Martinho gets farther ahead and I will not be able to keep up.  Manage to get up the hill and make the sharp turn.  Now shaded but a little too steep down.  Start looking at the watch and wondering if I can beat 23:00.  Doubtful but I don't give up.

Mile 2.8 - Onto the gravel path in the sun.  It is just too far around this field.  I am determined to beat 23:00 and I work really hard.  It is so hot though.  And just too far.  I make the final turn to the finish and realize that I won't make my goal.

Mile 3.11 - 3.11 on the GPS (certified course too) As I cross the finish I see my watch says 23:07 but I don't get it turned off until 23:11.  I will have to wait for my official time.  I should have asked Craig who is doing a great job of timing as usual, but I guess that I will have to wait for results to be posted.  I feel disappointed with my time and I should not be, with this heat and somewhat tired legs.  Later I recheck my previous results and see that I ran 23:19 in 2013.  So today is a course record and that makes me feel better.

Kids run is fun to watch.

I win second in my age group for the 5K and get a $5 card to Twisties froyo.

14th of 96
Race#358, 5K#92, Run for Rett #3