7th race in 7 weeks. Last week's half went well, but I never felt sharp this week. Slogged out enough miles so I will have another 40 plus mile week and then rested as much as I could for today. My 4th time here and I usually do well enough. I plan to run fairly fast, probably in the 4:10 range. That is the goal anyway.
Over 2 hour drive north. At least it is still a 9AM start time. It is supposed to rain a lot today, but at the start it is dry. I put a trash bag in my jacket pocket and wrap the jacket around my waist, so I am ready for whatever. But it is nice, just cloudy and not cold at the start. Much smaller crowd than previous years. And the big majority are running the half marathon. Not many in the full or the 50K, plus there was a little group that took the early start.
Start - Chip timed this year. Off at a good pace and soon catch up to Tracy, Mica and Keta. Happy to run with them. But they are going a little too fast, then they stop, so Keta can cool her paws, and I get ahead of them. Flock of swans in the field.
Mile 4 - Catch Ron Fowler. But soon we reach the creek trail. It is fairly wet this year. I had vowed to just run through the little creek, rather than deal with the mud and slipping on the side of the trail and end up getting wet anyway. I splash along, cooling my paws, and it is fine.
Mile 5 - Quick stop to adjust one sock, just to be sure it is not slipping. Miranda and Christie catch me and we run together. They are both running another marathon tomorrow and will both go on to beat me today.
Mile 11 - Been nice chatting with Miranda and Christie. Now we are getting near the turn around. Bit on the road, then the field with the bison and they are in close. Cross the highway and then a half mile to the aid station and turn around. 2:03 on the watch and I feel pretty good.
Mile 17 - Now I feel really bad. Miranda had gone on ahead. I was running with Christie. It was nice, talking and then comfortable silence. I would have like to just keep going like this. The wide trail is great for running with someone. But I just needed a walk break. Tiring. And a little fuzzy headed ( I was not diligent with the salt/S!Caps and took less than usual. Not so bad, but also a little upset stomach. The worst part is some strain/pulling in my inner upper legs. Don't know the muscle name. This used to bother me some years ago. Don't know why it is bugging me today. Slow my pace, shorten my stride and take walk breaks.
Mile 19.5 - Half of a half to go. Slowing even more. Hopes of a decent finish time are fading. Expecting Tracy, Mica and Keta to catch up and I only hope that I can stay with them for a while. But looks back do not show them. Just as my feet feel completely dry it is time to go back through the creek. Continue squishing along.
Mile 22.5 - Past the last aid station. Now though a field and there is a Northern Harrier gliding along close to the ground and close to me. It turns and makes another pass right by me, I get a great look at this mighty bird and wish him good hunting.
Mile 23 - Ever so slowly gaining on Mr Pat and Crockpot. I want to finish with them, but I just can not catch them. Rain starting now and I am so thankful that it did not start earlier. Grind out the last miles and keep extending my projected finish time. Finally I decide that I must get under 4:30. I can see the finish and pick it up to try to be in 4:25, but it is just too far away.
Mile 26.2 - 26.4 on the GPS. I'll take the 4:26 finish time. Worst finish of my 4 times here and especially disappointing after going in with higher expectations. But I am satisfied that another marathon is done and it wasn't that horrible, just too hard. Looks like I will probably not race during the next two weekends so the break should do me good. Then it is two tough trail marathons where I will not be time focused.
Tracy is in soon and we chat while I eat a veggie dog. Back in the car for the three hour drive with traffic in the rain.
14th of 31
Marathon or ultra#136