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