Saturday, December 17, 2016

12/17/16 Pigtails Marathon

New RD is Monte.  Almost everything else is the same as previous years.  Fewer runners though.  My 8th time here, so not much to say about the course.

Bitter cold.  20 degrees at the start.  A little light snow right when I finish.  So all bundled up and I will stay that way for the whole race.  At least it is dry.

Start - Nice to see friends and fellow crazy runners.  Early start option this year so some are already out on the course.  We start on time and head off on that nasty short out and back.  It is a rocky trail, made worse by the frozen solid ground and chunks of ice.  I start out easy enough and am happy to see the first mile done in ten minutes and now it will be a much better trail.

Mile 5.9 - Back and forth and with Ted.  More dismotivational signs than previous years.  So cold, there will not be many other trail users.  I have my pace down to a 9:30/mile average and am feeling good.  Take short walk breaks and try to not push the pace.

Mile 11.5 - Hammond aid station with roasted potatoes.  The warm potato is so nice!!  Now the push to the turn around and I will be happy to be heading back.  Counting the miles more than usual.

Mile 15 - On the way back now.  Just a slight breeze and colder in this direction.  Marie and Deb sighting.  Deb asks if I am cold and then offers me a "fireball".  First time drinking whiskey while running a marathon (maybe first whiskey ever).  Yowza!  Glad I did not take a larger sip.  I will save the rest of the little bottle for later.

Mile 16 - Catch up to Teri.  We run together to the next aid station.  Nice to finally run with her.  But she is slowing and I still feel pretty good, so I press on.

Mile 18.5 - Maybe I took too many potatoes, my stomach is starting to rebel a little.  Frozen gels and rock solid shot blocks have not helped either.  Start slowing some but still thinking I can beat last year's 4:19.

Mile 19.94 - A bridge is up ahead, maybe right at 20.0, and I plane to walk the bridges as usual, but I am suddenly struck by serious fatigue.  I start walking here and pick it up again after the bridge, but in a much lower gear.  It is all of a sudden so hard now, from here to the end.

Mile 22 - Lately when I tire late in a race, I can plug along OK, but this is serious wall stuff today.  Been a long time since I have struggled like this.  Not having a very fun time, I should rate today's experience a 3 out of 5, but there is still that sense of accomplishment that I am starting to have, knowing that I will finish another marathon.  It really is a great feeling to be able to get outside and do this, whatever the finish time.

Mile 25 - Gave up on 4:19 a while back, then I gave up on 4:30!  It is what it is.  I am running 14 minute miles.  Pigtails herself passes me.....and she is running the 50K!  I can shuffle and move my arms.  Head down a lot and I don't care.  Soon to be over.

Mile 26.2 - Try to speed up for the finish, but it is pathetic.  Picture with Monte.  Teri comes in a minute after me, I should have just stayed with her.  Soup and quesadillas.  Thanks to the awesome volunteers who braved the real cold of staying in one place.

15th of 48 with 16 did not start
Race#405, Marathon or ultra#148, Pigtails race#8

Saturday, December 3, 2016

12/4/16 Saint Martins Jingle Bell Run 5K

4th time here and 4th year in a row.  Always a week after a marathon.  I registered back in July so with early pricing it was $25 with shirt and chip timed.  It bugs me a little that they have continued to make the 5K race for competitive runners only.  If you can't go sub 30 minutes, then you can do the untimed fun run.  I know I can be under 30, but I like having all the walkers show up in the results, making my finish spot look better.

Recovery week was OK.  Got in a good hill workout on Thursday as I am focusing on training for the Mountain Marathon in March.  Yesterday I should have rested, but I had the opportunity to get out for 4 easy miles and I am afraid that I will need early in the month miles to reach my goal for December.  So today I feel a little weary.  Last year I ran a slowish 23:54 and I think that I should be able to beat that today.  Warm up for 2 miles and I feel ready to go.

Cold but dry.  I will wear a beanie hat and after warm up I put on a pair of gloves.  Not sure I need them but I will end up wearing them the whole way.  Two long sleeve T-shirts.  Fun atmosphere, with lots of costumes and people of all ages. One of my CCM Pacers is here, Rob.  I tell him that he has to beat me to keep his 3:30 pace job.  That will be no problem as he will crush it coming in 8th overall at a 6:10 pace!  Barb is here and worried that she won't make the 30 minute cut off, just getting back after injury.


Start - I start about a third of the way back.  Takes a few seconds to get over the mat.  But it is less crowded than past years and we can run our own paces right away.  Just a little tight, but not bad.  I head out at a too fast pace, but taking advantage of the pavement before the uneven grass trail.

Mile 1 - 7:30 - but now the uphill and then uneven dirt part, with a little mud.  Lost of people to run near or with, or to go back and forth with.

Mile 1.55 - Through the finish chute and start the second lap.  But I am at 12 minutes and I really doubt I can run the second half faster than the first.  This will be my slowest time here yet.  Nothing hurts and I am pushing myself hard, but the speed is not quite there.  Get going faster, but then there is the trail.

Mile 2.5 - Up the hill again and I am getting passed a lot. And I thought I was strengthening my hill game.  Now I am sure I will not beat last years time.  I keep going hard and get a little faster once I am back on the pavement.  Work really hard to pass one guy on the last stretch.  Then it is over.

Mile 3.1 - 3.11 on the GPS.  Walk back to watch the finishers.  It gets thin after 27 minutes, and when they do come in, I cheer them on.  One small girl will be so close, I scream at her to speed up and she finishes at 30:00 on the clock.  Oh, here comes Barb at 31 something and they are still recording times.  I am glad that they were not so strict on that.

Half mile cool down jog.  Check results on the laptops.  Get snacks.  Rachael Petersen sighting.  Back home by mid morning.  Glad I ran, will probably do it again and trying to not be so disappointed with a slightly slower race than expected.

58th of 133
Race#404, 5K#107, SMJB#4

Friday, November 25, 2016

11/25/16 Grandpa's Wishbone Run

Ran this once before, two years ago.  Great option if I am not doing the big Seattle race on Sunday.  Easy parking just off the highway and $20 entry fee day of race.  Part of the Seattle Quadzilla, so lots of Maniacs here.  Monte running number 501.

Green River paved trail, the same trail I raced on three weeks ago.  This time a double out and back from Tukwilla to the Three Friends Fishing Hole, where the race earlier this month started.

After a wet and stormy day yesterday, it looks like very good running weather today.  Cool but dry, the sun will even peek out a little.

Day after Thanksgiving so I have some dietary indiscretions to deal with.  I ran a good tempo run on Sunday then a huge hill climb (4 miles up Mount Walker, then flew 4 miles down) on Monday.  Here it is Friday and not sure how it will go. No real time goal, though it would be great to beat my time from 2015.

Start - Many runners in the half and we all go out along the sidewalk for a crowded but relaxed start.  Hat, gloves and jacket, though I will take off the gloves soon.

Mile 1 - 9:40 which is faster than it felt.  I would be happy with 10/mile but I don't slow down as I am warming up and everything feels good.  Except the side of my left foot which is giving a fairly sharp and surprising pain now.  Very much unexpected, I shift my stride a little and it goes away, comes back, then goes away for good.  That was weird and a little scary, if it had continued I would have dropped out, and I really did not see that coming.

Mile 2 - On the trail near the river, but now there are orange arrows and xs on the course and pointing in various directions.  Some arrows are pointing to the street and sort of back the way we came and some runners want to go that way.  I am sure that we are supposed to continue on the trail here, but what about the way back?  Our route was very clear getting here, I assume we go back the same way.

It would not be a race along the Green River without some route confusion.  The County is always doing trail maintenance and levee work and there are often detours.  My race here three weeks ago (In Unity We Run) had the least confusion, with one spot that looked closed but with good communication from the RD we were sure this was the right way.  Today there is also a 50K with the half and full (the full being advertised as 27 miles) and I do not know if the 50K people might have a different route.

Mile 4.5 - 9:23 average pace and feeling great.  Larry Macon sighting (world record holder for most marathons) Aid station (the only one on the course but we will hit it 4 times).  Now the bridge across the river and then that long curved part, where Deb and I were longing for the finish line three weeks ago.  Today I know just what we have to do, and after the curve and the next one (with fast runners coming back) it is under the overpass and reach the turn around.

Mile 6.76 - Turn around.  This would make a 27 mile course.  Pedro sighting.  He is behind me!  But he ran a marathon yesterday and has one tomorrow and the next day.  He is probably still warming up and also running conservatively.  I should be faster than most of the quad people so maybe my results will look good, despite whatever time I run.

Mile 11 - Back at the questionable spot.  We shout to a runner heading off that way and David Pearson and I convince her to follow us the way we came.  Also see runners coming back from that way and others who were just ahead of us, now coming towards us. 

Mile 11.5 - Now at another bridge and there is Pedro and three others with him, coming in from the side and crossing ahead of us.  The other route must be quite a bit shorter than what we did.  And not fair!

Mile 13.5 - Reach the start/finish/turn around in about 2:13.  Head right back out.  Now I just wonder how much stamina I have.  Running with David.

Mile 15.5 - He convinces me that we are supposed to take the street route after the crossing, but we lose the arrows and work our way back to the trail in a short bit through a parking lot.  Run the next 8 miles with David.  He is almost deaf and it is a challenge to communicate.  He reads lips great, and that is just a little hard when we are running side by side.  I have known him for a few years and watched him get faster than me, and run more races.  He is on race two of four in four days.  We talk a lot more than I expected and it gets easier.  I have been expecting to hit the wall, and though we take some walk breaks they are short.  I sort of want to be left to my own misery, but David is staying with me, saying he might go off faster at mile 23 or so.  He pushes me along and although tired, I am not really struggling or in any pain.  We both enjoy a Sabrina sighting.

Mile 23 - David gives me a fist bump and heads off faster.  Just before the aid station I see a young runner sitting on the side of the trail with her shoes off.  I ask her if she is OK and it is just blisters that she is tending to.  And yes, she is racing tomorrow.

Mile 25 - The orange arrow junction.  Look back and there is a guy almost there.  I ask which way to go and he suggests that we turn right.  We both think it will be shorter and we both have adequate mileage on our watches.  We take this route and I am surprised with how much mileage it cuts off.  Orange arrows clearly take us to the bridge.  My new running buddy is picking up speed and I am flagging.  Push on hoping to beat my 4:34 from 2015, but pretty sure I won't make it.  Now the long sidewalk to the finish so far away.  Run the whole way, feel good, but happy to be done.

Finish - 26.73 miles on the GPS.  No time to chat or have pancakes.  Head directly to the car for the hour drive and oh I am so stiff when I get home.  But a nice day of running and I am happy with my endurance and only being a minute slower than two years ago.

Results pending
Race #403, Marathon or Ultra #147

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

11/5/16 In Unity We Run Marathon

First time here at this 15th annual event.  Great option for a low key race put on by Steve Barrick.  Like his bigger race that I have done, the Green River Marathon, this race will be on the paved trail along the river.  But by being out and back (first upstream and back, then downstream and back) there is no logistical issue of transportation.  Start and finish is just off I-5 and less than an hour from home, with good parking and restrooms.  $20 dollar donation to the food bank.  Aid station near each turn around and at the half, so with six miles between aid, a water bottle is needed.

In an amazing coincidence I am assigned bib#402 and this happens to by my lifetime race number #402.

I had three long races close together in September and October, but now it has been 4 weeks with no long run.  Not sure if I have even gone more than seven miles at once.  I needed the rest but now I have no idea where my endurance is.  With the rain and potentially lonely course, I have no real time goal, just get it done and get in a good workout.  Small race, but I know quite a few people so hopefully I will run with a friend or two.

Start - Light rain with lots more expected.  Half and full line up together, with some early starters gone out an hour ago.  Then we are off.  I feel good and find a nice pace that feels a little fast.

Mile 1 - Still a little dark and it is hard to see my watch, but it looks like I am at 12 minute/mile pace.  That is impossible.  Dan W says that we are at 9:45 pace which sounds about right.  My GPS erred in the fist mile and will be off the whole race.  About then a  strong wind and tremendous burst of rain soak us all.  I stop to put on my trash bag, lose Dan but pick up Crockpot.

Mile 2-6 - Run with the Crockpot and it is nice company.  She is just doing the half today with big adventures last weekend and next weekend.  Heavy rain lets up but the light stuff will continue all day.  Have to watch for puddles on the paved trail.  My feet feel wet, but not soaked through or heavy.  We see Monte and Leslie, and then Deb and Steve coming back, after taking the early start.  An idea forms that I could continue running at a decent pace and catch them around mile 20 or so.  Ideally at mile 22 when I know I will be tired and slowing, then I can just slow and take walk breaks and run at their pace, but have company for the last miles and still get a marathon finish and good workout without pushing it so much.

Mile 10 - Running steady, alone and passing a couple of guys.  Got the average pace to sub 10 minutes per mile, forgetting that it really is faster than that with the GPS screw up.  Short walk breaks to drink or have a gel and then back at it.  Small temptation to quit when I get to the halfway point.  It would be easy to do and I think that with the weather, some runners will do this or did not even show up.  But I need the long run and I feel OK, so I know I will go on.

Mile 13.1 - Back to the start/finish.  Steve B is calling out times and I think he said 2:06 something which seems fast.  I did not look at my watch but I guess that is possible/likely.  Get water at the aid table and there are Deb and Steve F.  I caught them way sooner than expected and neither was having the best day.  In fact they are discussing whether to drop out here.  I want some company and I encourage/cajole them to keep going.  They decide to have a go at it and we set out together.

Mile 15 - Really nice chatting with Deb and Steve.  Easy slow pace, but lots of long walk breaks.  I don't mind the walk breaks but they are quite a bit longer than I would do.  Still when we start running again, every time it gets a little harder.  Get passed by most of the runners who I had gotten ahead of earlier, but I don't care.  No drive or interest in any particular finish time now.  Just have a nice run with friends.

Mile 20 - Steve is tiring and needing to walk more and more.  Deb does not want to get ahead of him, since he waited for her earlier.  I don't feel like I should leave either of them since I encouraged them to keep going after the half.  They would not mind so much but really I don't see the purpose of ditching them at this point.

Mile 24 - Feeling a little cold with the slower pace, but overall it has been OK even with all the rain.  The rain has just about stopped now and I am ready to be done.  Let Deb set the pace and times of the walk breaks.  Steve tells us to go on, he is just going to walk it in from here.  So we do go on.  Long bend in the river when we think the end is near, takes a while to get around but finally there is the bridge and we are done.

Mile 26.2 - Just a couple of people left at the finish line and only a few more runners out on the course.  I wait for Steve, who thanks me for encouraging him to continue and Deb says she is glad to have gotten the long run in.  So we are all happy and soon to by dry.  I will have an easy recovery and will be back on most of this course for a marathon on the day after Thanksgiving.  I plan to run faster then, unless it is raining, or unless I decide to stay with friends.

5:14:14  (2:06/3:08 split!!)
30th of 40
Race#402, Marathon or Ultra#146

Saturday, October 29, 2016

10/29/16 Tenino Pumpkin Dash 5K

The Ghost of the Ghostmuster.  My second time here since the PTA took over from Thurston County.  Attendance is way down this year, with two other race options in Olympia today.  But I take the drive to my old classic course.  Jody here.  And Nicole J, doing her first 5K.  Good thing she brought a bunch of friends with her, otherwise it would have been that much smaller an event.

Damp but no rain or wind and a nice temperature for running.  Take my time with a nice long warm up.  A couple of regulars here, with Tom and I both wearing our long sleeve 2003 Ghostmuster shirt over our 2002 Ghostmuster shirt.  What are the odds of that?  I will go with the short sleeves for the race.

Start - new start location, back a little from the old start, but still in the parking lot.  Course was re-certified in 2014and will be accurate with my GPS.  Acknowledgement to the kid who designed the T-shirt.  Preregistration was $25 with shirt.  5K and 10K start at the same time.  Not crowded we make it over the speed bumps in the parking lot and on to the roads.

Mile 1 - (7:45) - Feel slower than I am running.  Should be able to go faster but can not get it going.  10K splits off and I am dismayed to only see two people ahead of me make the turn.  About 7 others are still in it, in the 5K, ahead of me.

Mile 2 - Going just a little faster, but it is a struggle.  San not concentrate.  My mind keeps wandering and I have to bring it back to the race, but then off I go daydreaming again.  Passed by the first woman.  Loren is ahead of me and not gaining.  Usually he is much faster, maybe I can catch him.  I try to surge and it just is not happening.

Mile 3 - No pain.  Breathing and legs are equal in holding me back.  Realize that I will get in under 24 minutes and I am happy with that.

Mile 3.1 - Happy to be done.  Finish time is better than I felt like I was doing.  Jog back to cheer in Jody.  See a guy carrying his shoes and running in wet socks.  Jody almost catches a guy dressed as a taco.  Now she is done and we both go out to cheer on Nicole.

Good to race with Jody and Nicole, but I think I might have had a better experience at the race in Capitol Forest today.  Well it was good for speed work I guess.  And always interesting to test myself on a familiar course.

Nice to see Craig and Rachel and thanks to them for timing the race.

8th place of 45

Sunday, October 9, 2016

10/8/16 Defiance 50K

Race#400!  My 6th time at this one.  I like a lot of things about this race, one being the many friends that I will see.  But for the 50K this year, attendance is way down.  Three other marathons or trail ultras this weekend.  Some Oly people doing the shorter events and lots of runners in the 15K and 30K.  Light rain turning windy later.

loop 1 - 2:00  The past two years I ran 2:02 first loops and I wanted to be there or a little slower.  It takes me  a while to get the legs warmed up and then I feel like I am in a groove.  After the crowded start I settle in behind someone running a nice pace for me.  I stay back 20-30 feet so as to not bug her.  Let people pass anytime someone gets behind me.  Try to take it easy.  But it is so hard to run an even pace.  The last 3.5 easy miles go by fairly quickly.  Now the horrendous, rope assisted decent down the cliff.  Near the finish at 1:58.  I walk it in worried that I have gone out too fast.  Take my time at the aid station then head off for loop 2.

loop 2 - 2:12  The flat promontory is fine, but as soon as I start up the steps I can feel it and slow.  Move along but slower.  Pass Dan Sherman, who will re-pass me later.  By myself the rest of the long day.  On the last miles, I pass a junction that I think is Yannicks but he is not there.  I hope I am close to the end, but the trail goes on and on.  Then a turn and there is Yannick.  That was so discouraging.

loop 3 - 2:35  Well this is just awful.  No real injury, just tired.  After the steps I just can not get running again.  Rain and wind pick up.  A couple of miles of walking and shuffling, then I can jog for longer stretches.  Look back once in a while but no one is there and that does not give me incentive to move along.  Stop at the aid station to thank the volunteers.  I tell then that this is a big deal for me and so great that I get to do this and I could not do this without them.  One asks if it is my first race.  LOL.  Down the hill to the road crossing where a volunteer woman dressed as a banana had been stationed during my first two laps.  She has been replaced by two non costumed volunteers, so I ask "where is the banana?" And I get the answer I was hoping for, "she split".  On to Achilles Hill where I not only walk, I have to stop briefly to gather my strength.  Now the "easy 4 miles" but I know it will be a super long slog and I will not misjudge the distance.  Start running better.  6:07 on the watch and I try to run for ten minutes.  I do it, then keep going.  Very short walk breaks.  Then a slight hamstring cramp and I slow for an S!Cap.  Realize that I will be running a course worst today, no need to stress about it now.  The flat trail goes on forever, right ankle and foot bugging me, but hamstring seems OK.  Finally Yannick, then the road.  No one behind me I take my time on the cliff.  Still almost slip, legs are so tired.  This is a scary thing to attempt after so many hours of running.  Make it down OK and "sprint" to the finish.

Weather is crappy and most people are gone.  I grab some drink and pizza and call it a day.  Not the funnest or most exciting or best running day, but I don't think I would have rather been anywhere else.

31st place of 39
Race#400, Marathon or ultra#145, Defiance 50K #6

Saturday, October 1, 2016

10/1/16 Apple Fest 5K, Onalaska WA

I have these 4 races in 4 weeks that I love each one for different reasons.  GOAT is a wonderful trail, Bellingham is one of the best marathons out there, at Defiance next week I get to run all day and see lots of friends.  Here, today is the quintessential small town fun run.  Well organized little event as part of Apple Fest.

I won a free entry for this year at last years race raffle and am happy to be back.  My third time here.  Twice around the lake gravel and maybe a little long, plus my second year doing marathons the past two weekends, so I am not here to run fast.  Just have fun.

Hour drive from home, but it is worth it.  Easy to park and get my number.  Love the feeling like everyone knows each other.  I only see one runner that I know, but it is a nice atmosphere.  Large mug that I will use that work.


Cloudy and cool, great for running.  I get in a 1.5 mile warm up and the legs feel good.  Marathon six days ago.  Tuesday was a rough jog/walk.  Thursday felt better but not great by any means.  Took off Friday hoping to be rested up enough for today.  In fact it all feels good and will for the length of the race.


Start - Don't want to get trapped behind folks on the long double track trail, so I line up near the front, just behind some very fast looking kids.  We start right at the tower and narrow down to the trail.  Looks good, no one rushing past me.  It opens a little, then I do get behind two runners but am able to move around and pass.  From here on we can pass or be passed with little trouble.  Around the gravel pile, then the uphill and screaming downhill.  Pace is sub 8 which seems fine on this gravel trail.

Mile 1 - Off the trail and glad to be on the pavement where I can try to get into some kind of rhythm.  Really if I can hold this pace and feel like this, I will be very happy.  Great volunteers at every turn.  I make the second sharp left and there is a car right in front of me, but I get around with no problem.  Then the parade route.  Trying to keep things smooth and steady.

Mile 2 - Back to the lake and another lap.  I had passed a couple of people in the past mile, now no one close ahead of me.  Up the hill and that slows me, first time today I feel really tired.  Scream down the hill and I know there is not far to go.  Maintain a good pace, but one guy comes flying past me.  No chance of keeping up, I just run it in as best I can.

Finish - 3.17 on the GPS (3.16 last year)  I won't realize it until I get home, but I beat my time from last year by one second!

Rain starts and wind picks up.  Thank you volunteers for continuing to work the timing boards.  I change and wait in my car until the award ceremony.  The rain stops just in time for awards.  I get first in my age group ribbon out of 5.  Great raffles again, but alas I do not win anything.  Still a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning.  Only race I know of where we do a group photo after.....

10th of 85?
Race#399, 5K#105, Apple Fest 5K#3

Sunday, September 25, 2016

9/25/16 Bellingham Bay Marathon

Tenth annual event and my tenth time here!  As a legacy runner I was invited to the pasta dinner and was awarded a very nice jacket.  There are 18 of us who have done one of the races each year, only three of us have done the full marathon every year.  I keep coming back because this is such a terrific event.

Even the waking early part is not bad this year as I wake at 4:44, one minute before the alarm was set.  On the road by 5AM and parked in my usual spot downtown by 5:15.  I get on the first bus to the start line so there is plenty of time to relax and get ready.  Again the warm, spacious waiting area at the Lummi reservation is so nice.  Chat with Rikkie and other friends, then watch the tribal welcome ceremony.  They go all out this year with dancers in costumes and their songs really are touching.

Now off to the start line.  Perfect temperature. It will stay cloudy most of the way and never get too warm.  Dry and no wind this year!  I ran the GOAT trail marathon last weekend and that was my first full since June, so I expect to lag today.  I know that I will be slow and that it is some combination of not being in the best shape and also still being worn out from last week.  Checking my previous results here I see that a 4:28 is my slowest time.  So I set a goal of beating that if I can.

Start - Line up behind the 4:15 pacer and decide to stay behind/with her.  Would be foolish to go faster than that.  Even when I see Tracy Marshall up ahead, I decide to run smart and not try to stay with her.  I never will see her again as she has a great race.

Mile 0.5 - Bald eagle in a tree close by!

Mile 4 - It has been a nice run along the water.  Staying with the 4:15 group.  There are just a couple of us (names I won't remember), and it has a great vibe.  The pacer is keeping conversation going and I try to not talk too much, stay focused on the running. Another runner has a ton of energy and great stories and is really fun to just run with. The miles go by easy and pleasantly.

Mile 9 - Aid station kids are awesome as always.  Feeling pretty good, but a little discomfort up and down my left leg.  No problem staying with the pacer, but I am losing confidence that I will stay the whole way.  Strong manure smell from the farms.  Pass three maniac friends who started early.  On to the short out and back.

Mile 13.1 - We got a new pacer and the four of us continue with her.  2:07 something at the 13 mile mark, so we are just a little slow and she picks up the pace a bit.  Miss energy is still with us, singing and dancing, but she will be the first to drop off the pace.  Now the long uphill and it is getting tougher.

Mile 17 - Merge with the half but they must have started earlier than usual, because there are very few of them. Not hard to pick around the walkers.  I will be passing halfers all the way from here to the end. But now I start to slow. Stiffening, beat up legs.  Left mostly but also the right.  No sharp pain, but harder to push on.  And not super motivated.  I see 4:15 get away, but I know that I am in OK shape for that 4:28.....if I keep running.  One of the women I have been with since the start is also fading and we run together for a while.  Eventually she is able to move on faster than I.  From here to the end I will be mostly alone, doing more passing than being passed, but not running very well.

Mile 19 - Cookie stop.  Same girl as previous years with fresh, warm chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  So great!

Mile 21 - Through the park, then the not great slog along the sidewalk near the water and downtown.  Mostly running, but very slowly.  Short walk breaks.

Mile 22 - 3:40 on the clock as I get up that hill and have the short bit where I can see the fast runners coming at me as they are very close to the finish. I am feeling beat up but in good spirits.  Looking forward to the trail and then the turn around.  Trail is nice and I plod along.  Mostly passing people, but we are all tired and slow.  Cross the tracks and down to the water.  Thirsty, there is a water fountain and I stop for a long drink.  Been taking the offered gels and drinking at each aid station.  Stomach is doing pretty good today.  Its just the tired legs.  Now the boardwalk over the water and the steep little uphill.  I manage to "run" the entire uphill.  Spectators note that and cheer for me.

Mile 24 - After that hill I sort of perk up.  The legs are not getting any worse.  I am able to run without walk breaks so I just grind it out.  One look back and I can see the 4:30 pacer.  That motivates me to keep on running.  Going to be very close to 4:28 and that is the only goal that pushes me on.  Don't walk!  Don't walk!  Encourage the walkers I am passing to keep moving.  Tell the marathoners that we can beat 4:30 if we do not walk.  I probably pass 40 people in the last two miles, most half marathoners.  I only remember legacy athlete Eric passing me, running oh so strong.

Mile 26 - I can not go fast but I can keep running and I need to to beat 4:28.  That steep downhill and now the last bit to the end.  Lots of spectators lining the finish way.  I hear my name announced and it is over. 

Solid effort at the end, just a long bad patch from mile 17-24.  I am pleased with how the back to back marathon weekends went but will take the two weeks until the next one.

184th of 358
Race#398, Marathon or ultra#144, Bellingham Bay Marathon#10

Saturday, September 17, 2016

9/17/16 GOAT Trail Marathon

Third annual event and my third time here.  After today there will only be five legacy runners for the full marathon.  The full continues to be very small with a much larger half.  I remember loving this race and this year is no exception.  Great to go point to point (no looping) on beautiful runnable trails. 

Rain this year though.  After it has been so dry, it just started raining last night.  But not cold or very stormy.  There will be lots of small puddles during the first half, then the rain will stop and the trail is in great shape later on.  Even with the puddles, the trail is looking good.

I have not run a marathon since June, but I did get in a couple of three plus hour training runs and everything is feeling good these days.  Bellingham Bay Marathon next weekend so I do not want to over do it today.  If anything hurts I will slow way down.  I guess that my goal is to have a nice day, beat 5 hours if feeling good and plod along the last miles on the dirt road at a consistent pace to get some wall/low energy training in for next week.

Drove up yesterday and hiked a little at Hurricane Ridge.  Cheap motel was fine and I get to the shuttle in plenty of time.  Couple of vans take us to the start line.  Nice to see Monte, Sara and Will.

Start - Light rain, but once we get into the woods it is not noticeable.  Got my GR truckers hat and a jacket on.  Jacket will come off about halfway through.

Mile 1 - Only now I realize that I have a bunch of loose change in my shorts pocket.  Move it into my zippered pocket in the water bottle and it will jingle every time I take a drink.

Mile 2 - Running a pace that seems a little fast but good.  Now I am behind a string of about ten runners.  No desire to try to pass them.  I like being in the back with no one right on my tail, and I try to leave a lot of space with the person in front of me.  I know that we will all be alone soon enough, but I picture us staying together till the road, or about mile 25 and then racing it in.

Mile 4 - Small gravel road crossing and four runners pull over to make adjustments and what not.  Two others then stop to let me by and soon my pack is down to about 4 of us.  We will now run our own paces but leapfrog each other quite often the whole rest of the way.  Each of us seems to like being a little behind someone, and just letting them set the pace.  But if we get too close, the person in front will slow more, step to the side and the behind runner has to reluctantly pass.  Most likely to be passed again later.  Everybody is so friendly, it is a great vibe all the way to the end.  Really nice group here in the middle of the pack.

Mile 7 - Feel a little bunching up of my right sock and decide to take my show off and fix it at the aid station.  Don't want a blister, and thankfully I will not get one.

Mostly run the gentle uphills, with some short walk breaks on the switchbacks.  Love the long gentle downhills.

Mile 13.1 - 2:21 on the watch, and I think I remember last year I ran a 2:20 first half.  But now I slow more than last year.  No wall, and the running is not so hard, but I know that last year I was trying to keep up with Mike Mahany and he is not here today to keep me motivated.  I do pass two runners who are not part of my leapfrogging group.  Enjoy the limited views in the clouds.  I can just see Canada. Then work my way alone through the darker cedar forest, ready to break out onto the road.

Again, GPS is way off from the trail mile markers.  It is a short course, but I really can not say by how much.  Down the rocky sketchy logging "road" to the main dirt road.  4:20 on the watch.  Lets see how long I can sustain an easy running pace.  I make it to 4:40 and am really happy with that.  Just a quick slow and stop at the aid station, the run again for another ten minutes before a walk break.  Pass one of my pack and start to gain on "Run Happy" socks, but she pulls away once we reach the paved road.

Now it is a short (less than a mile?) on the paved road with cones.  No where near the 4:47 from last year.  My goal is still beat 5:00, but there is 4:53 on my watch and it will be close.  I think I ran 5:03 the first year and really anything around that is fine, but I feel like I do not want a course worst today.  Not much I can do, except don't walk up this steep but short uphill.  I tell myself that if I walk here and do not beat 5 hours I will regret it.  If I keep running and do not beat 5 then I will have no regrets. 

4:57 at the top of the hill.  I think it is a really short bit to the turn into the resort, then maybe a minute to the finish line.  Yes there is it.  4:58 and into the park.  Down the hill.  Now 4:59 and where the heck is the finish line!!  It has been moved from the past two years.  The lake is right here so it can't be much farther, just the back of the lodge building, where it used to be on the side.  Make the final turn to the back of the building and yes there it is.  Happy to beat 5 hours.

Really a great day.  Things dried out more than I expected and the temperatures stayed pleasant.  No aches or pains worth noting.  Glad to have a marathon done without exhaustion even after some time off.  Great race organization, great volunteers.  I will plan to come back and run this one again.

22nd place of 39
Race#397, marathon or ultra#143

Saturday, August 13, 2016

8/13/16 Galloping Gertie Half Marathon

The Over the Narrows ten mile race is now the Galloping Gertie Half Marathon.  Still a well organized event by the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce.  Pricier, but with a nice long sleeve shirt (good quality but ugly race logo) medal, chip timed and good course support.  Jody was going to run the 10K but is nursing a bothersome Achilles so stayed home.  Nice turn out, though I barely know just a couple of people.

For those who do not know who/what Galloping Gertie is  you should watch this: Galloping Gertie

I am wearing my Tacoma Narrows Bridge Run shirt from 2007 with my Narrows Half Marathon cap from 2011.  The shirt is cotton and will get heavy late in the race, but it is a fun one to wear today.

Weather is going to be very warm.  Seems humid too.  Add super hilly course and I fear not being able to beat 2 hours.  I have yet to go over 2 hours in a half marathon, so I will have that incentive to keep working if it gets tough.

Ran 48 miles last week and intentionally kept it in the low 30s for this week, ending with today's race.  Really happy with my mileage.  Even got in a slow 15 miler a week ago.  Working hard now so that my Fall marathons will not be so bad.

Easy parking and good staging area in the Uptown Mall parking lot.  Restrooms in the movie theater.  First race for the Super S Pacing Team.  Lots of Half Fanatics in their fancy shirts.

Start - I line up behind the 1:50 pacers.  One guy mentions my shirt, says that he just threw his away, it got too old.  Slight delay as the police work to close the roads and then we are off.  I have no trouble staying with 1:50 out into the road and down the long hill.

Mile 2 - The left turn and the giant steep uphill.  1:50 slips away from me. This would be a very tough course to pace, with all the slope changes. So steep and warming up in the sun.

Mile 3 - To the bridge.  Sun is so bright that I have to check to make sure I am wearing sunglasses.  Such a beautiful day to cross the Narrows.  Look for whales.  Now the long uphill.  Yannick is there to cheer for us.  More uphill into Veteran's Park.  So glad to make it to the top and hit the water station.  Take an S!Cap that I carried with me and get a gel from the aid station, to be taken at the next water.

Mile 6 - Twist and turn and up and down some quiet Tacoma neighborhoods.  Leapfrogging one woman since the bridge.  Now I catch her but stay even for a half mile.  No words spoken, just run together.  Super steep little hill that I was not expecting.  Then water and as I pour on my head, my cotton T-shirt gets heavy.

Mile 8 - Back over the bridge.  Went ahead of that woman.  Feeling OK, just warm.  I can not see 1:50 ahead of me.  But I am still running sub 9/mile, so I know my pace is OK.  9:09 is the pace for 2 hours.  I know that I will slow on that long last uphill.

Mile 11 - Here is the final long hill.  Not as steep as coming off the bridge and the shade is such a relief.  Slowing but no wall.  I get passed by one guy and work on catching another but he gets away.  Good effort but when I know I will make my goal I ease up a little.

Mile 12.5 - Catching a woman I have been gaining on for a long time.  I tell her to not let me get to her.  But she is slowing and I get even right near the end.  I feel a little bad about passing her for some reason and slow to cross the finish line with her.  Chip timed she will beat me by a few seconds.

Mile 13.1 - Finished.  Very happy to be under 2 hours with the heat and the hills.  I get handed a cold Red Bull and I never drink those, but it is most welcome.  Watch the finishers come in and I am surprised at how far apart everyone is.  2 hour pacer comes in all alone.  Nice to have the lap tops there to check results before heading out.

48th place of 252, 37 of 112 men, 9 of 20 in the 50-59 age group
Race #396


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Whale of a Run 4 Miler - Silverdale WA

36th annual event and our first time here.  Whale Days weekend in Silverdale.  Race is a benefit for Meals on Wheels and is reasonably priced at $20 with no T-shirt option.  Parade to follow the race.  Jody surprised me by wanting to race too, making this our third race this month.

Easy drive from our Hood Canal cabin. Park at the Kitsap Mall, and get our numbers in plenty of time to warm up, but not much time to wait around. Cool for July and cloudy with a little breeze.  Decent mile plus warm up.

Start - Race seems so huge compared to my recent ones.  Wide road is closed here, but we are still packed in.  Find a good spot back a little ways and wait for the go.  Judy Fisher sighting. Ten second count down and then we are off.  Chip timed at the finish line only.  Crowded, boxed in but running at a good clip.  Get passed, pass others, after a quarter of a mile there is room to run.  Downhill start, now flatter and gentle uphill.

Mile 1 - 7:35 - ten seconds slower than last weeks 5K and exactly where I want to be.  But now the hill.  Turn right and start up a long major hill.  Road is open here and there are some cars.  Go under Route 3 and there are cars getting on and off the ramp.  Kid volunteers not really doing much to control traffic.  Uphill is steep and twists and turns.  I am slowing but so is everyone.

Mile 2 - Think about walking but keep moving in a slow run. Wonder what Jody is thinking of this course ( I did warn her that I thought it might be hilly).  Finally the top of the hill.  Right turn and just a little more up.  Now a long flat way.  Overall pace is 8:03 and I should be able to lower that now that the awful hill is done.

Mile 2.5 - Recognize Erik Lindberg ahead.  Slowly gaining on him.  Get passed by a guy with a stroller.  Gentle downhill.  Erik takes water at the aid station, so I do too.  I think I might be able to catch him, but then he starts extending his lead. Martinho is here and should be passing me soon.

Mile 3 - More downhill.  Working hard and getting faster.  Flatter and a headwind.  I draft off a kid for a few steps then pass him.  Left turn and back on to the parade route.  Brass band is playing.  Road is lined with spectators who have staked out a parade view and now are cheering for us.  Long view to the finish line.  I had hoped to beat 32 minutes (8/mile) but now I have my sights on beating 31 minutes.  Passed by one guy but now I am working to catch him back.  Push really hard to the finish.  Catch the guy and also get in under 31.

Finish - Mile 4 (3.99 on the GPS)  Congratulate Erik who says I will beat him next time.  Martinho comes in next just a few seconds behind me.  We go back along the finish to cheer Jenny and then Jody who both had strong runs.  We are tempted to join the Silver Striders for lunch, but decide to head back to the canal sooner than that.  Walk the half mile back to the start line and our car.  Surprisingly large event that I would do again.

75th of 312

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

7-23-16 WA State Senior Games 5K

We have been talking about this one for years.  We finally qualify as we both turn 50 this year.  Tammy (10K) is here to enjoying her first time as well. Also Martinho in the 10K and Nona in the 5K.  April to cheer us on.

Enter Tumwater High School Stadium to the sounds of the Olympic theme music.  Polo shirt instead of a T-shirt is different.  Our races are small but there are lots of track and field events going on.  We will see a 99 year old get a gold medal and PR for throwing the shot put from his wheel chair.  So inspiring.  87 year old legend Keith Woods is here to race against me.

5K, 10K and the race walk on the track all start at the same time, but at different locations.  I have had a decent 2 mile warm up, followed by strides and feel good.  Feel great actually.  Remember that nagging right foot issue?  I decided two days before Lakefair that it was just not healing itself, so I opted out of that race and when to the foot doctor.  I got a shot in my inflamed deltoid ligament and felt instant relief.  That was 8 days ago.  I have eased back into running and all feels good.  Now lets see how fast I can go, and hopefully not re injure myself.

Start - Jody, Nona and I are lined up with the other 5Kers.  Lots of cones and marks on the ground, it should not be hard to stay on course.  Plus volunteers to direct.  We get the signal that the races have started and off we go.  My decent warm up is apparent as I find myself going fast.  Settle into a good hard pace and hope to hold on.  Nona catches up to me, then eases back.  I will run with the fear of her just behind me all race and in fact she will finish just a few seconds behind me.

Mile 1 - 5:27!!!, no that can not be right.  That is mile 1 for the 10K race that started a ways behind us.  We are at 0.75 or so.

Real mile 1 (Mile 1.00 on the GPS) - Here is our mile  marker and the watch reads 7:25.  Still way too fast, I know that it will not hold.  Running alone, the guy ahead of me is too far ahead.  Can't sense anyone just behind me.  This place will hold for the rest of the race.

Mile 1.3 - The first two 10K racers pass me.  They hold a big lead in their race and no others will pass me. 

Mile 2 - Breathing is more difficult than getting the legs moving.  Keep pushing and wishing it was over.

Mile 3 - Slowing but not bad. Now the turn into the stadium.  The clock is reading 3 minutes less than my watch.  Going by my watch, I have a chance of beating 24 minutes.  It is going to be close, but that gives me the incentive to run hard all the way through the finish line.

Finish - 23:58 on the watch and that will be my official time.  Nona just behind me.  Now recover and wait a few minutes for Jody.  Jody will see the 24 minutes on the clock (running without a watch) and think that she has a massive PR until I give her the disappointing news.  Still 27 something is a good time.

We wait and cheer in Martinho and then Tammy.

Awards ceremony with a real podium.  Medals for the first three places in each age group.  I am the only runner in 50-55 so I get gold.

Really fun morning.  Great to be feeling good in the feet.  Fun to run with friends and Jody.  Awesome event that I will run again.

8th place of 25
Race #394, 5K#104

Sunday, July 10, 2016

7-9-16 McCleary Run From the Bears 10K

4th time here and I am sure it will be the slowest.  It has been a very poor month for running.  June 12th Tunnel Marathon left me with two hurting feet.  After a few days, the left foot was all better but the right foot continued to nag off and on.  Something near the ankle, not diagnosed and mellow enough to not go to the doctor.  Ice, rest, ice rest and it would get gradually better.  Make sure it feels decent enough for the 10 mile round trip up and down Mt St Helens.  Thinking of starting a separate blog for hiking adventures.  On days when I was running, I just could not get moving.  So for the last month it has been 3-5 miles at a time, with lots of long walk breaks and all of it very slow.  Not motivated to race and I just can not get any speed going.  At Hood Canal for the 4th of July, I used that as an excuse to not race.  Could have gone to any of three races within an hour drive, but I chose to sleep in.  I am signed up for something on 7/23 and Lakefair 7/16 is looming.  On the 4th Tammy reminded me of the Bear Run.  I had forgotten about that one.  By mid week I was running without discomfort and decided to go for it.  If only because I have said that I want to keep doing this for many years.  I turn 50 this week and if this is not an age related slowing, then one is coming and I might as well get used to being in the back of the pack.

Friday night Jody says that she wants to come.  Pleasant surprise.  She knows that I like to get to races super early and is a good sport about leaving the house when I think we should.  Little does she know that I had us leave about 15 minutes later than I would have on my own.  We do know the way and there should be easy parking.  There is and we get there right at 8AM, for the 9AM start.  We happen to be the first ones to the registration table and get numbers 1 and 2!  I don't think that I have been number 1 before.  $10 day of race with the no T-shirt option is a steal.  Back to the car to read for a while and watch people walking around with bib numbers going higher, but not many.

Make our way to the start line.  Meet Andrea who looks really fit and fast.  Another guy who I recognize.  I do very little warm up, won't even log it as mileage.  Jody meanwhile puts in some distance and almost misses the start.  We don't know anyone else and it is a small event.  New race director and she intentionally did not advertise, so that she could manage a small group.  She does hope to grow it for next year and she does a great job of running things this year.  When she has the 2 milers separate from the 10Kers we are surprised to see just about everyone is in the short race.  Only 6 of us in the 10K!  Police Officer Grim talks about safety and then it is time to go.

Start - I plan to ease into it.  We run across the street and on to the right shoulder.  Jody is ahead of me but I get past her and also Andrea.  The one guy in front and starting to extend his lead.  Not going too fast, I decide that I should try to keep near him, just in case I will be able to stay with him and get the victory.

Mile 0.5 - Through downtown.  I sense Andrea is right behind me.  The first guy is gaining a little and I know that I am going too fast.  Sub 8 pace, but it feels OK.

Mile 1 - 8:03 on the watch.  Way faster than expected, now can I hold it.

Mile 2 - I looked back at the water station and Andrea was falling behind.  First place guy is so far ahead, he is a speck in the distance.  Country roads with chip seal that I do not like.  Just a little discomfort in the foot but not bad at all and not getting worse.  Try to stay on the shoulder when there is one and especially when the police officer is driving by.

Mile 3 - 8:09 average pace.  Very happy with that.  Maybe I can hold on and finish at 8:15 pace?

Mile 4 - Another water stop.  I am locked into second place but will pretend that someone is on my heels.  Reach the turn that Ron B missed a few years back.  It is marked but only halfway through the turn.  Jody will hesitate here but get help from a race official.  I am sure that I am on track and try to keep up the pace.

Mile 5.5 - Ready to be done now.  I would have been happy with 53 minutes, but it looks like I have a chance at beating 50.  I can see the finish line and my watch is at 40:19.  Run as fast as I can until I realize that I won't make it. Ease up just a little and cruise in to the end.

Finish - 6.13 on the GPS.  50:17 on the watch.  Cheer in Andrea and then Jody.  Jody is really happy with her 57:18 time, the same as 9 years ago here.  The last two are apparently walking.  No awards but Jody and I both with raffle baskets (sewing stuff and dog stuff).  We are back home by 11AM feeling great about our morning.

I will register for the half at Lakefair and plan to continue to enjoy events like this.

2nd place out of 6
Race#393, Run from the Bears 10K #4

Monday, June 13, 2016

6/12/16 Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

My sixth time here.  Wow has this race grown.  Now 600 runners and it sold out in a few minutes.  I was lucky to be at a computer at the right time, back in January.  Lots of serious runners going for that BQ.  Today I am going to be on the other end of the spectrum, going for the scenery.

My slowest time here was a 4:06 and I am very sure that I can not do that today.  I have had no long runs in the last month.  Both feet/ankles are still bothering me.  Not much speed work and I feel slow lately.  Last weeks 5K was not a confidence booster.  But at least my back feels better and I am sure that I can cover the distance.

So I decide to stay with the 4:30 pacer (Christie) for a while and then move forward to hopefully have a nice negative split.  I really do not want to fall apart at the end.

Up at 4:15AM, to North Bend before 6AM, on the bus and up to the start by 6:45.  Time to check in, eat and get organized before the 8AM start.  The race is so serious now, they make us show ID before getting our number.  So I have my hand held water bottle with my phone and driver's license in the pouch.  Better not lose that! 

Start - Very crowded as we line up.  I think the pacers are too close together.  But we go off OK.  I am just behind Christie.  Slow for the U-turn at the cone and then off to the tunnel.  Into the dark.  I am on the right side and the slant is steep.  It sets both ankles off and the dull pain will be there the whole race.  I can't move over to the center with this crowd but my side levels off soon enough. 

Mile 1 - Flashing light marks one mile in the tunnel.  Then 2 miles.  Strange as always and not the funnest running.  Feels like we are going fast.

Mile 3 - Out of the tunnel.  I drop the knuckle lights into the bag and then get out the camera for a photo.  I will send some snap chat videos too, during the first half today.  I thought I was doing all this quickly, but then there is the 5 hour pacer and I am not quite ready to run again.  Have to be sure to zip up that water bottle pouch.  3.3 miles on the GPS and the watch will continue to read long every mile.  By race end it will read 27.0 miles.  I get moving and see Christie (4:30) far ahead.

Mile 4 - Catch up to 4:30 pace and settle in.  Next couple of miles are nice.  It just feels faster than when I paced Capital City at 4:30 a month ago.  And the little rocks turn my ankles just a bit, but enough to make the discomfort worse.

Mile 7 - It is earlier than I had planned, but now warmed up and feeling good I decide to pick up the pace.  Leave 4:30 behind and fairly confident that she won't catch me later.

Mile 10 - Stopping for photos now and then.  Beautiful day.  Cool temps I still have my long sleeves on.  Whoa, here is Martinho.  I thought he would be way ahead of me.  Turns out he had a bad calf cramp in the tunnel and I must have passed him there.  He has been stretching and easing back into it and now running OK.  He must be disappointed, but he seems to have a good attitude.  We run together till the half mark and he goes ahead there.

Mile 13.1 - 2:11 something on the watch.  I would like to think that I can negative split and beat 4:20.  Put the camera away.  Run some with Mike Mahany, always nice.  I pick up the pace and when Mike sees me at the finish, coming in after him, neither of us can remember him getting ahead of me.

Mile 15 - Now mostly by myself.  Passing some people.  Warming up more so the long sleeves come off.  Legs are just a little more sluggish than they should be.  I feel like I have decent energy and my stomach is fine.  But I can not move my legs fast enough.  That and my feet hurt.  Putting in 9:15 to 9:30 miles here and if I can keep that up, I will be happy enough.

Mile 20 - Now just trying to keep the pace under 10 minute miles.  Pass the RD Super Sabrina.  She is so organized with great volunteers that she can run her own race.  I guess that she has to get from the start to the finish line some how, might as well run it.  Now I will be in fear of her passing me back.

Mile 22 - The turn, the flats.  Actually more downhill than I remember.  Long stretches of running, but then some unplanned walk breaks.  I start to get passed by some.  Turn around and see Sabrina there.  That gets me moving faster.  Feet hurt.

Mile 25 - Finally!  Gave up on 4:20 and a negative split a little ways back.  Should get in under 4:25 and at least 4:30 did not catch me.  Encourage those around me.  Try to run with people but none of us can hold a steady pace.  Beautiful river crossing, I should walk back here after I finish (yeah right), then the highway underpass and I know that we are very close to the end.

Mile 26.2 - Another one done.  Uglier second half than it should have been.  Frustrated that I am no where near sub 4 hours and that I could not negative split today.  Happy for my friends though, some of whom had great days. 

I do not have any marathons planned until September so in the mean time I will work on my feet/ankles, get some new shoes, do more core strengthening and race shorter distances. 

399th of 590
Race#392, Marathon or Ultra#142, Tunnel Marathon#6

Monday, June 6, 2016

6/4/16 Runn for Rett 5K

I love this little race.  My 4th time here.  I am going to be slow, but I am happy just to be here.  Eight days ago I was a half mile into an easy run and was stopped by sudden and severe back pain.  I think it was the worst back pain I have ever had.  Frustrating to not know what made it happen.  I had to cancel my race plans for last weekend.  Ice, heat, gentle stretching and it gradually got better.  I took five days off from running and eased back into it two days ago.  Things feel fine this morning, so here I am.

Sunny and going to be warm.  $30 day of race includes a very nice T-shirt.  Chip timing by the BuDu people is new this year.  Easy warm up and I notice that arrows are pointed in a different direction than last year.  Confirm with the RD and yes we are going to run the course in reverse from last year.  Good to know, not that it makes much of a difference.  It will be well marked, staffed with volunteers and even have a bicycle club to lead the front runners.  With the course set up this way, we will get the hill done first, then have a nice downhill followed by two miles of flat.  1.5 mile easy warm up.

Start - Off we go right on time.  Lots of kids and it is a little crowded, but we make the first turn OK and there is room to pass.  Around the Historical Park and then up the hill.  Warm but at least it is shaded here.  Pass the small kids on the uphill.  Then the sharp turn and head downhill on the sidewalk and road.

Mile 1 - 7:50 mile.  I had been at 8:19 pace at the top of the hill, but made up the time on the downhill.  Now Martinho catches me.  We run together. My pace is a little inconsistent as I speed up, then slow, but overall I am feeling OK and hanging in there.

Mile 2 - Still with Martinho.  We saw Jo, the overall winner, way ahead of everyone, on the out and back.  And then there was Loren who will win the men's race.  Good for him!  At the aid station I try to drink and run and get a nose full of water. 

Mile 2.5 - Still side by side with Martinho. It does not occur to me that he is just running with me for fun.  The paved trail along the lake goes really well.  I finally feel like my legs are functioning right and somewhat fast.  Ready to be done though.

Mile 2.9 - Turn to the finish.  I tell Martinho that I want to see his sprint, but he says that we will stay together.  But then a kid passes us and it is game on, at least for Martinho.  They go off and I have no chance of keeping up.  I realize that I can not beat 24:00 so I coast in and finish strong enough.

Mile 3.1 - 3.14 on the GPS.  Results are printed out right away.  Awards ceremony is done without delay, before the kids run.  I get a tumbler for second in my age group. 

Fun morning, another nice Run for Rett.

22nd of 125
Race#391, 5K#102, Run for Rett#4

Monday, May 16, 2016

5/15/16 Capital City Marathon

Thirteenth time running the full, 12th year in a row.  Sixth year pacing and second year organizing the Club Oly pace team.  I had many pacers coming back from last year and not much trouble getting the 18 pacers and two volunteer drivers into their assigned duties.  Handed out singlets at the expo where most of the pacers attended.

Race morning.  Hope everyone shows up.  Mix of fun seeing friends from near and far, small level of stress hoping that everyone gets here on time, and increased nerves as I have my own pacing duties to think about.  We all make it with fully charged watches, tie on our balloons and line up early.

Weather had called for showers but I am so thankful it is dry.  Cool and cloudy all morning, with just a little mist in the air at times.  Perfect running weather and nice enough that spectators will be out.

Start - Chat with some people around me.  Some say they plan to stick with me.  Maniac Claudia is one of them and that is great because we have not run together before.

Smooth start and fun with all the half marathoners cheering us on.  About 15 seconds to get to the mat and I will pace off of gun time so that gives a little cushion.

Mile 1 - 9:54 if I remember right. So a little fast but not bad and we can just keep on about that effort with the east bay hills soon to come.  Big group around me and I try to get some names.  Maniac CJ, Holly, Esther, Sang, Todd and some others.

Mile 10 - The first big hill.  Still have my group with me.  Nice steady pace.  Love the course as usual.  The spectators but also the quiet country roads.  Last year my right foot/ankle was having issues.  This year it is my left foot/ankle.  It has been nagging me since I finished Tacoma two weeks ago.  I only ran once in the past four days and that was short and easy.  I think that was wise.  Today it is flaring up off and on, nothing too bad.  I do take one ibuprofen, saving three more in case it gets worse.  I only need to hold this pace until 13.1 at which point Bill takes over.  I plan to stay on pace but if I have to walk for the foot I can do so after the halfway mark.

Mile 13.1 - There is Bill ready to jump in.  Down to Woodard Bay and up the steep hill from there.  Great to have his energy as my fellow runners are getting quiet.  We lose Claudia and a few others, but Holly is here and I really want her to succeed.  Now the long mostly flat on Libby Road.  Gradually passing a few people.  I think we are going to pass one young woman, but she rallies and stays on pace for many more miles.

Mile 20 - Things get exciting as we merge with the half and pass some half walkers.  More spectators.  Two 5Ks to go.  If not for the left foot I would be having a blast.  Instead every step is a reminder that something is not quite right.  I can manage the pain and it never really flares up.

Mile 22 - About two minutes ahead of pace, but the final tough hill is here.  Heidi Perry sighting.  Holly and Sang with us as Bill and I begin the ascent.  Bill reminds us to pump our arms.  Sang and I try to come up with a mantra, all we can do is say "keep running".  Holly is quiet and determined.  We reach the top and the fun can begin.  Through a mass of bubbles in the air from kids with a bubble machine.  Lots of people with signs, including Holly's crew who take this picture......

 Mile 24 - Holly goes ahead to finish in 4:26!  Sang has fallen behind but will get in just at 4:30.  Not much left for Bill and I to do but stop for a beer at the rogue aid station and then ease on down Capital Way.  The beer is great just too little.  Bill and I watch the pace and walk the last aid station as we have walked them all.  Things look good but that finish line looks so far away.  We have paced it well and trot on in just a little ahead of schedule.

Finish - Giant medal.  Check in on Holly who starts to lose feeling in her arms and ends up in the medical tent.  With care and electrolytes she recovers soon enough.  I get my pizza and take it back to the street to sit on the curb and cheer everyone in.  All of my pacers did great and it was a big success.  I plan to organize the team again next year.  The reward is worth the time I put into it.

About to leave, but I cheer Deb down the hill.  Then Monte, then Jeff Galloway.  Now I see a small group very slowly coming along.  Young woman with a leg brace and cane going to slowly.  When she gets closer I am shocked to see that she has a five mile race bib on.  Cheer for her and then read in the paper that she had a spinal cord injury and is rehabbing.  She has run the half here three times, but today the five miler takes her four and a half hours.  Epic effort and inspiring!

185th of 314 finishers
Race#390, Marathon or Ultra # 141, Capital City Marathon #13

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

5/1/16 Tacoma City Marathon

While I don't like the 4AM wake up to get to the shuttle for the 7AM start, it is supposed to get warm today, so starting at 7 is probably a good thing.  It is Tacoma and it will be warm, so I break out the old Maniac singlet.  But I bring long pants and fleece to wait at the start in comfort.

Cheer the early starters and mingle with friends.  Bright sun is rising here at the Narrows Airport.

Last year I ran 3:59:59 and I am reasonably sure that I can not do that again.  Two weeks ago I ran 4:27 at the very hilly Whidbey Island and I am confident that I can beat that time.  I am thinking of staying with the 4:15 pacer and pulling ahead late if I feel good.

Start - Crowded and I find myself closer to 4:30 pacer, but I am not concerned.  This far back we start out, then have a crowd hesitation right at the chip mat, but then we are over it and running smoothly.  Around the corner and the short out and back.  Jesse Stevick with a big lead already!  But when I check results he is not there, so I don't know what he was doing.

Mile 3 - So much for 4:15, I am now just behind Ian and Nick pacing 4:00.  Big group with them and I try to stay back so I can see the road.  Over the Narrows.  Boxed in again I ease off.  Coming up the other side I have plenty of room and crowding will not be an issue any more.  Gorgeous views of Puget Sound.  The uphill is long as always.

Mile 6 - Run with a new friend, Marycarol.  She has a support/spectator crew out here.  The next four miles are very nice as we chat, staying 50-100 feet behind the pacers.

Mile 10 - I accelerate up to Ian and let him know that I am back there, that I made it this far, though I know I won't last the whole way.  Then slow down and rejoin Marycarol.  But then we do a brief merge with the half marathon (Terry Fritz sighting) and it gets crowded and I push on to stay with 4:00 and am on my own.

Mile 13 - Chip mat here, not at 13.1 and it reads just under 1:58.  Catch Judy Fisher.  Into Point Defiance Park for 5 more miles of hills.  And shade.  I have been pouring a little water on my head already to stay cool.

Mile 18 - Just coming out of the park, a little detour on to some dirt and gravel and an uphill and I suddenly tire.  Can not quite hang on with 4:00 pace.

Mile 20 - Down to Ruston Way and the heat.  Feeling OK.  A little pain in my left leg that I can ignore.  Warm.  Slow but chugging along.  10 minute miles with short walk breaks from here to the end.  I am actually passing quite a few marathoners (and halfers as we have merged with them again)  A few strong runners pass me but according to the split time sorting I net gain and pass about 30 marathoners in the second half.  A few places I can feel the heat radiating off the road.  Shade feels so nice when it is there.  Keep up good spirits and try to encourage others around me.  My worst time here was a 4:12 so I have to try to beat that.  Every mile closer to the finish it looks like I will have no problem doing that.

Mile 25 - So glad to get off that road.  Now a few turns and one long stretch to the finish.  Still able to run long sections, I keep plugging away and get it done.

Mile 26.2 - Done!  Feel a little nausea and walk around some to recover while sipping on water.  After a while I get my drop bag and hike up to Pacific Ave, about .3 miles from the finish.  Sit on the curb and cheer for runners.  Fun to watch friends finish up.  Marie pacing 5 hours right on schedule.  Then the Rogue Wave (25 weeks preggo! with her Dad)

Good enjoyable day and a nice feeling of accomplishment.

142nd of 462
Race#389, Marathon or longer#140

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4/16/16 Whidbey Island Marathon

Every May I run the same two races (Tacoma and Capital City).  Every April I find something new to run.  This year I finally get to run the Whidbey Island Marathon.  Been wanting to run this one for years and doing so will get me another Washington State County that I have run a marathon in. Jody is off on a trip with her Mom so it is a solo overnight for me.  I get there early enough on Friday to explore some beaches, but alas see no orcas.  The island is so pretty, I hope to come back with Jody some time for a longer stay.

Start time is 6:30 AM but we have to catch a shuttle from the finish of this point to point course.  Hotel is a short drive away, so I am up at 4:30 to catch a bus by 5AM.  I get to ride next to Pedro.  Great to catch up with him, especially since he resists all social media.  It feels very cold out here at Deception Pass. I have a hat and fleece that I will put in my drop bag, but even with those I am shivering.  The time goes by quickly enough and then it is time to run.

Maniac Pace Team is here.  With the course supposed to be very hilly and I am not at top form, I see no need to try to set a great time.  A second half faster than the first would be wonderful.  I think that 4:15 is just a little too aggressive and the 4:30 pacer is Super Sabrina who is a ton of fun energy, so the choice is easy to plan to stay with her for a long while, then go faster later in the race if I feel good.

Start - The road is closed for the first couple of miles so we can run right down the middle.  Starting at the park and then onto Route 20.  Over the Deception Pass bridge.  Yesterday I stopped here to get a couple of photos.  There was lots of traffic zooming past the narrow sidewalk and with the sweeping view I started to get vertigo.  Today I stay to the center and enjoy the scenery.  Mostly a few steps behind Sabrina and with a little pack.

Mile 2 - On to a side road that is quiet but like the rest of the way will be open to traffic.  So we get to see and stay inside of every traffic cone in the county.  It makes us run no more than two together.  Aid stations every two miles or so and nice temperatures with sunshine.  Easy comfortable pace.

Mile 8 - The little pack is much smaller and I have had the chance to chat with Sabrina.  I don't know her so well, but have been amazed at her running career.  Talking with her, the miles eased by.  I even get to hold the pace sign for a few minutes as she makes a quick stop.  I take my duties seriously and make sure the pace stays even.  Other than that I don't have to think about pace.  It is so relaxing to trust a pacer and let them do the work of timing.  Sabrina is also a certified coach and I get some good advice, most of which I already know but just don't do enough of.  Maniac Coconut Boy sighting, running his 499th marathon! 

Mile 10 - Have I mentioned the hills?  Ever up and down.  Nothing too steep but its relentless.  Here at mile 10 is the steepest one yet.  A few years ago I would have explored this course more closely, memorizing the map and driving the whole thing ahead of time.  I am glad that I did not do that this time, I would have been discouraged before the start. Better to just let it unfold today.  And it is not like a trail race where I might take a wrong turn.  Just follow the cones.

Mile 15 - Up, down, up down.  I ran the Bremerton Marathon last year and remember that being the hilliest road race I had done.  Today is even hillier.  My watch data will show Bremerton as having over 1,700 feet of elevation gain and Whidbey will be closer to 2,100 feet.  But I feel fine.  Taking lots of gels and shot blocks as my stomach feels great.  Just three of us now staying together. Smart to stay with Sabrina (and fun).

Mile 18 - More uphill.  Nice views of the water, but I think there are better places to race on this island.  Lots of twists and turns with no long straight views of what is ahead.  Hard to know if this is the last big hill or not.  I had looked at the course profile and it showed just about all downhill after mile 21.  But some people are saying that the course is different this year.  The great thing is that I feel strong and light and have no trouble getting up any hill.  Walk when Sabrina does.

Mile 20 - After a nice downhill it is up again.  Right hip flexor is starting to bug me, but not so bad.  I had planned on staying with the pacer until mile 21, then going faster.  But I feel good enough to not go slow on this uphill and without a grand goodbye, I just ease ahead.  After a quarter mile I realize that I am ahead of her for good (hopefully) so now it is time to go faster, work hard and see how much I can beat 4:30 by.

Mile 21 - And right here we get a fantastic downhill with a long view of more than a mile ahead.  Meet up with a guy named Micah and we pick up the pace.  Passing the half marathon walkers now.  There will be more and more of them, but we will not have trouble getting past them.

Mile 23 - Had been averaging 10:15/mile for the first 20 miles.  Now I am running about 9/mile.  Not blazing fast, but moving along fine.  I realize that I have 5K to go and I remember the four 5K races that I ran last Saturday.  That seems so short.  I am tired but not as stiff as I was at the start of the last race last week.  Now a discouraging little uphill that slows me down.  But after that it is gentle downhill and then a steep down to the finish.

Finish - 26.35 on the GPS.  Happy with my time and the about 2:14/2:12 split.  No wall or real struggle.  I guess that I could have gone out a little faster, but if I had really tried for a fast time I could have had a very bad race, with that course as hilly as it is.

Whidbey is done.  Off the bucket list.  Nice enough event but I don't feel like I need to come back again any time soon.

76th of 138
Race#388, marathon or ultra#139

Sunday, April 10, 2016

4/9/16 Orting Daffodil Parade 5K

Get to Orting and find decent parking.  Lots of people around with the traffic negotiating the detours.  Now a long wait.  Almost two hours till race time.  It is hot and I smell.  I want to nap in the car but it is too warm.  I walk around town a little.  I am worried that I am dehydrated and I drink and eat but hopefully not so much to get sick while running.  4th 5K race in 4th town today.

This course will be a simple out and back on the paved Foothills Trail.  After a long wait, race time is getting close.  I shuffle a little and feel as stiff as I have all day.  Fun to see the same people again and we line up accordingly.

Start - It is a beautiful sunny day in Orting and lots of people are using the trail.  We will have to watch for bicyclists, dogs, and families walking together.  But it turns out to not be so bad.  About 70 degrees and it sure feels warm for running.

Mile 1 - 7:57 - There is a volunteer here shouting out the mile pace, which is nice.  No water on any of the courses, and just bottled water at the finish.  But organization including starting on time has been very good.  I feel slow and creaky but really my pace is not so bad.  Jemma and Jared are pulling well ahead though and will beat me in the challenge.  Cattle pasture with baby cattle, then an amazing view of Mount Rainier, followed by a run along the beautiful Carbon River.  By far the most scenic course of the day.

Mile 1.6 - Turn around.  Looks like a slightly long course.  Try to keep working hard.  Wonder if I can beat 25 minutes?

Mile 2 - an 8:07 mile - First time I have been over 8 today.  Try to push on and get it done.  No one with me or right in front to give me impetus to speed up.

Mile 3 - 7:52 mile - Passed a fellow challenger who is struggling and just keep on.  Now I can see the finish clock and it is going to be super close to beat 25 minutes.  That gives me the goal I need to finish strong.  Push really hard.

Finish - 3.15 on the GPS. 24:59 on the clock! There are the Daffodil Princesses from this morning.  One drapes a Challengers finish medal around my neck, one gives me a much needed bottle of water.

I would like to stick around, but foolishly I am meeting Jody in an hour in Auburn and we are driving an hour north from there to have dinner with her parents.  Towel off and change of clothes and nobody seems think that I smell.  Fun long day.

I would do the challenge again for sure.  Happy with my results and really everything went great.  Except for them losing the Puyallup race results.  So for the three races that were timed, I ended up 15th best of 116.  Age group 45-49 I was second place of seven.

For the Orting race:
19th of 149
Race#387, 5K#102