Monday, September 28, 2015

9/27/15 Bellingham Bay Marathon

Ninth year in a row here!  Since I ran the GOAT Marathon last weekend, I do not expect to do too well today.  This week was rough recovery, so I dropped my Friday run and only did two easy short runs this week just to stay loose and rest up.

Ride the bus with Deb.  Always nice to see her and catch up. We are tied at 128 lifetime marathons or ultras. 

Warm waiting area and welcome from the Lummis.  Out to the start and it is cold in my singlet, but I know it will warm up.  Sun just rising.

Start - Smooth start.  I positioned well and am running comfortably from the beginning.  Nice easy pace, don't really have to work to pass anyone.  Pacers help with that.  A mile into it and I find myself behind a large group with the 4:00 pacer.

Mile 4 - Stay behind the 4:00 group, leaving plenty of room to see the road, yet letting the pacer set my pace.  I feel good and think about passing them, to catch up with Mica or PK who I can see ahead.  But this is a dumb idea and I decide to stay right here. A few words with two fist time marathoners.  I like how this race has a mix of Maniacs and newbies.  No one seems very concerned about finish time today, just out to get it done.  Photo by Deb.

Mile 6 - Mel Preedy sighting!  He took the early start and will finish today in 7 hours.

Mile 12 - Nice temperature and bright sun.  Glad I have a hat, but wish I had brought sunglasses.  Right about here my legs go sore.  Everything had been going well, but my legs suddenly remember last weekend.  I guess you would call it pain, but to be more specific it is soreness all up and down my legs, mostly in my quads.  I can still run but it is not fun anymore.

Mile 14 - I have let the 4:00 pacer get way ahead.  It would be a lot of work to keep up and it is just too early in the race.  I think of my recent previous times here....4:28 in 2012, 4:22 in 2013 and 4:21 last year.  So far from the 3:55 I ran one year.  I decide that to run under 4:20 would be just fine and show improvement over recent years.  I finally have a time goal for the race.

Mile 16 - Up the long hill.  Doing OK with a slow pace and some short walk breaks.  No injury, feet feel good, its just these darn tired sore legs.

Mile 17 - Finally the merge with the half.  But this year the half started 30 minutes earlier and now we are merging with the very back of the pack.  It is not crowded, but they are all walking.  Some years I mix in with a huge group of runners that are going my pace and it adds this terrific energy to the event when I need it.  Some years the runners are going slower than I am and I have to negotiate around many.  This year it just seems quiet.  Way fewer spectators in the neighborhood too.  I know that there are many marathoners behind me, but I feel like I am at the tail end of the event and everyone is just waiting for me to go past, so they can close up shop.  I do get a cookie from the little girl at her own table, just like last year.

Mile 20 - It gets better as I get closer to town and as I catch up to halfers who are running.  Lots more runners and spectators.  Try to ignore the legs.

Mile 22 - Near the finish line, fun to see the fast guys sprinting to the end, sad to know I have the long out and back.  But it is a pretty part of the course and 4 miles seems like not so far to go.  Run really well on the gravel trail. Make it all the way to the train tracks before taking a walk break.  That 4:20 time seems very reasonable as long as I do not walk too much. 

Mile 23 - On the boardwalk.  4:15 pacer with a couple of guys pass me.  I try to keep up, but the steep uphill off the boardwalk does me in.  Walk it and then start chugging along once I get to the road.

Mile 25 - Run/walk/shuffle.  Legs are so tired.  I reach the mile 25 marker with 4:04 on the clock.  I have been slowing and I told myself that from here I could walk a bit and then at 4:05 I could jog on and I should have no problem running the last 1.2 miles in 15 minutes to get under 4:20.  I won't have to work too hard and 4:19 sounds great. 

Just as I am done calculating how slow I can go and beat 4:20 everything changes.  I have done this whole race by myself, but now Maniac Crockpot catches me.  She is like "what are you doing walking? Lets go!"  She is having a very good race time for her recent self and she wants me to finish strong with her.  I am happy to see a friendly face and I enjoy running and talking with her. 

25.5 - It was a nice fast half mile and then I slow and tell her to go on, but she will have none of it.  She has tons of long race experience and is a medical doctor too, so when she slows but tells me to get running again I know that there is no arguing with her.  I tell her that I hate her and pick up the pace.  Really it is not that hard once I put mind over legs.  We run strong.  Pass one of the first timers who left me with the 4:00 group back at mile 12.  Mr Pat joins us for the last bit

Finish - 26.39 on the GPS 4:16:36 on the clock.  Now that it is over I like Crockpot again and am glad that she spurred me on.

I say this every year, but again, this is one terrific event.  The volunteer kids are so numerous and enthusiastic.  I definiately plan to be back for number 10

Marathon or ultra#129
Bellingham Bay Marathon#9
215th place of 394

Monday, September 21, 2015

9/19/15 GOAT Trail Marathon

Best kept race secret.  After having an awesome day here last year, for the inaugural event, I just had to come back.  The half did sell out, but surprisingly the marathon did not.  Last year had 35 finishers in the full.  This year we have 46 starting, I do not know what the cap is, but it is a wonderful small race.

I stayed in a rustic cabin at the finish line this year.  Took my time driving out yesterday, I visited the Dungeness National Wildlife refuge, a place that I have wanted to see for many years.  Managed to not yield to the strong temptation to walk all the way out the the lighthouse (10 mile trip) saving my legs for today.

Feeling good, my goal is to beat last years time and get under 5 hours.  Last year I ran conservatively and was recovering from a tough marathon the previous week.  This year I am more rested and know what to expect, but I do want to save something for Bellingham next weekend.

Cloudy, then a rain shower as I park at the shuttle lot, a few miles from the finish.  I decide to keep my light jacket with me, tied around my waist, just in case it rains again. Last year it was warm and sunny and got real warm at the end.  It will be much cooler and great for running today, as long as it does not get too wet.

Sit next to Monte on the shuttle ride.  Then about 15 minutes to wait at the start. 

Start - Up the two rutted road for a bit, then steeply down.  I start fairly near the front and can run my pace from the get go.  With two lanes for a half mile I get sorted into a good pace.  On to the single track now, where it will be harder to pass.  I remember last year starting much farther back and having to work around quite a few people, to get to my comfortable pace. 

Mile 2 - Been following a group of 4 and we are going just a little faster than I would like.  While not hot, it does seem extra humid.  I am sweating and wonder if I should not slow down a little.  There are two guys behind me, not super close, but I decide to step aside and let them go past, walk just a bit and then set out at my own pace rather than try to keep up with this group.  Second guy is Jason Ryan, nice to see him get ahead of me, where he belongs.

Mile 3.5 - I know that there are a bunch of people behind me, but no one is close.  Hard to tell in these woods though.  Out into a view of the cloudy Elwha valley.  Aid station.  I am doing so much better this year with my hand held bottle compared to that belt thing that I will never go back to.

Mile 6 - Feeling less humid, in a good running groove.  Weird to run this trail that I was at only once before, a year ago.  It is all surprisingly familiar and it comes on faster than I remember.  Dark forest, dip down across a little water, then up the other side, switchbacking up the hill, now the abandoned logging road and a steep but short uphill.  Walk most of it but it seems easier than I remember.  Slowly gaining on one woman.  Top of the hill, look back and no one behind me.  Flat then another similar hill.  Aid station where I pass the woman.  Just after the aid station a guy passes me and he is flying, really caught up quickly.

Mile 8-10 - Packed dirt, smooth, wide, gentle downhill trail.  Amazing section that goes on for so long.  Then some uphill and a few rocks but still runnable.  Drizzle turns to light rain.  I have learned that if I want to have a drink or food or as in this case slow to  put my jacket on, I can wait until a tricky or uphill part of the trail where I want to go slowly anyway.  Jacket goes on, but just for a couple of miles.  Rain stops eventually and the trail only gets very little puddles and just a few muddy spots.

Mile 13.1 - or so.  Really not sure about these mile markers and my GPS.  Aid station volunteers say that we are halfway.  About 2 hours 20 minutes, so on a good pace for sub 5 hours, especially with most of the uphills done.  At the aid station Mike Mahany and another runner catch up to me.  We continue on more or less together.

Mile 15 - Out into the clear cut on the side of the mountain.  Last year it was a had to stop and look at the view of the Straight of Juan de Fuca and Canada.  This year I can see the water, but most of the view is clouded in.  So we keep running.

Mile 17 - Ouch!  Bee sting above my right ankle.  Only one and it is not too bad, but I will feel it with each step all the way to the end. 

Mile 18 - Down some serious switchbacks to a bridge, where I decide to slow and make Mike and the other runner go past me.  Check for swelling and the sting is growing a little bit.  Free to run whatever pace I want, I watch Mike get ahead, but see him every once in a while.

Mile 21 - Onto the real rocky "road" part.  Looks for good spots to run this downhill, then glad to hit the real dirt road.  Now the long slog to the finish.  Mike stays about 1-2 tenths of a mile ahead of me.  It would be nice to catch him and run with him to the end.  I give it a little effort but just don't have the great desire.  Instead I try to not take walk breaks.  Just keep plodding along.  I will easily beat 5 hours and so I should keep moving, but save something for next week too. 

Mile 23 - I am tired but nothing hurts (except the be sting).  Feet feel fine and my legs are not stiff at all.  I think that I have managed to drink a lot more water than usual, without an upset stomach, and that has helped me not fall apart.  My legs feel way better than they did at mile 12 of last weeks half, of course I have not been going nearly as fast.  Still think I might catch Mike, but now we are on the pavement and up the two little hills.  Turn the corner, down the hill and to the finish line.

Finish - Finish line recovery is easy, since I did not go all out at the end.  Somehow I finished 17 minutes faster than last year and still had a fun time doing it. 

22nd place of 46
Race#363, Marathon or Ultra#128, GOAT Trail Marathon#2

Tuesday, September 15, 2015