Saturday, March 26, 2016

3/26/16 Hop for Hunger 5K

Back to Yelm for the second year in a row.  With Jody this time.  $15 entry includes T-shirt and chip timing, but no awards. Benefit for the Yelm Food Bank.  I like all the families and various ages that come out for this one.  This would be a great first 5K for anyone. Cool but calm and very nice running weather  Hoping to beat 24 minutes, not much speed work since the back to back weekends of marathons two and three weeks ago.  At least I had one week off from racing.

Decent warm up for 1.5 miles.  I feel good but not great, a little tired legs.

Start - Line up with Loren and a bunch of fast looking kids.  Plenty of room to run in the wide parking lot. Try not to go out too much like a rabbit.

Mile 1 - 7:25 - Fast but it feels OK.

Mile 1.55 - Turn around on the Yelm-Tenino paved trail.  Working hard and I am happy to be heading back.  11:54 on the clock, which would barely get me sub 24 if I can hold the pace.  Jody not far behind me at all!

Mile 2.0 - Been gradually gaining on Loren and now I am able to pass him.  Then work my way up to one kid who I get past.  No one will pass me during the second half, so I guess I am running alright.

Mile 2.5 - Work on a shorter faster stride and staying in focus.  Keep up the effort as best I can.

Mile 2.8 - Now the turns around the school.  If I can reach the last turn before 23:00 then I should beat 24:00, and I make the turn at 22:50.  One guy ahead of me is slowing a little and I put on a great effort to pass him.  So close, we finish with an identical time, to the tenth of a second.  But he started behind me and his chip time puts him ahead.

Mile 3.1 - 3.17 on the GPS but I forgot to stop it right at the finish.  Loren had 3.14.  Amazed at how good I felt and happy with the finish time.  It is slower than last year by about 22 seconds, but that is just where I am right now.  Gasp and walk a little and next thing I know, Jody is coming in for the fastest 5K she has run since 2008.  Hope she gets the racing bug again.

No post race events, only bottled water at the finish.  We watch most everyone come in and then head home.  Hope to be at Capitol Lake next weekend for the Run Like a Fool 5K, then the Whidbey Island Marathon on April 16.

10th place of 164
Race#382, 5K#97, Hop for Hunger #2

Sunday, March 13, 2016

3/12/16 Mountain Marathon


Third time here.  Last year was warm, sunny and dry.  This year will be cool, dark, windy, rainy and wet.  So much rain recently.  My next door neighbor and his son are running the half and we came up here two weeks ago for a run in the rain.  Puddles will be even bigger today.  So happy that my trail shoes and socks are working great when soaked.  I am more inclined to just run or walk through a puddle, than try to get around it, using too much energy and risk slipping.

Fifty or so in the full and lots more in the half.  We are about to start and a woman is asking about the course.  I answer and then see that she has a half marathon bib on.  I tell her that her race does not start for an hour.  Good thing, she almost went out with us.

It is cold and I have my Pigtails gloves on.  Woman next to me is also wearing Pigtails gloves.  Hey its Pigtails herself!  Gloves will come off about mile 5.  Hat and jacket stay on the whole way.

Start - Off we go and do not do the short road out and back.  It is right up the steep road.  Run most, walk a little.  Then the Rock Candy Trail that I have run often.  Out to Army Tie Road and then the steep rocky uphill to puddle land.

Mile 3-7 - Puddle trail is ridiculous.  I am mostly just plowing through them.  Off and on near a couple of guys, but really doing my own thing.  Out to the road and the long steep uphill.  Walk this with Ed.  Half Marathon turn around Aid Station.  Staffed by my guardian angel Holly.  Then another half mile straight up the road to another aid station and the turn back on to trails.

Mile 8-11 - This is new trail for me.  Twin Peaks Trail.  This is part of the original course that was rerouted last year due to logging.  And when I did run this race in the first year, the course was also rerouted due to the high snow levels.  I find myself not liking this trail much, and dreading the return trip.  It is steep downhill, clay and rocks and logging debris.  Out into the clear cut it continues down.

Mile 11-13.1 - First place runner came past me when I was back at mile 10, so he was six miles ahead of me!  Now here is Danny Kuhlmann, looking strong.  I am looking for number 604.  When I saw the list of runners, with bib assignments, a few days ago, I saw that Benjamin Gibbard was running.  He is the singer for Death Cab For Cutie and runs ultras too.  Oh here he comes.  I say "hey Ben, great to see you here".  He smiles as we navigate each other in opposite directions.  Something to tell the kids, who are big fans.  Runnable trail.  Now another puddle trail.  Cold wet feet.  And now unexpectedly we are going back uphill.  Long slog to the turn around.  I finally get there at 3:02 on the clock.

Mile 13.1 -16 - Down on slippery wet clay.  Mike Kuhlmann sighting, running his 100th marathon.  Puddle trail to keep the feet soaked.  Back and forth and finally get ahead of three guys for good.

Mile 16-19 The uphill.  Not the Grunt Trail, but it might as well be.  I can see a runner way ahead in the clear cut.  I get up there and looking back am surprised at how much I have gained on the last guy I passed.  Ravens overhead.  Windy out in the open.  Running up into a big cloud that is blowing in the wind.  Finally to the forest, but another mile of uphill to go.  I power walk most of 16-19.  So hard, I actually feel like crying.  Can't wait for the peak.

Mile 19-25.5 - Finally get to the aid station.  Four young guys are huddled under the tent, one is in a chair by the heater, shivering.  I did not see them ahead of me just now, they have clearly been here for a while.  But right as I move along, they storm out and blow past me.  Short steep road down to Holly's aid station.  I have full water, but I grab some cookies.  I get what I really need, a hug from Holly.  Now I know where to go and what to expect and I know that I will finish fine.  1,800 foot drop in the last miles will be nice too.  Down the road and onto the puddle trail.  All the halfers and most of the returning fullers have churned up the mud so much.  This is way sloppier that is was five hours ago.  I almost fall when I hit the deepest puddle, the one I was supposed to remember.  Two times I will slip enough that I have to put a hand into the clay to keep from falling further.  But making progress and even pass a guy.  Down to the Army Tie Road and smooth running.  Legs feel pretty good considering.  Windy and the stormiest it has been all day. Happy to get back on the trail and out of the wind.  Should be able to beat 6:30.  Down to the final road and doing fine.

Mile 25.5-26.2 - Look back and see a guy not too far behind.  He has been gaining on me, because I did not see him a while ago.  He is pushing it and another look shows him closer.  Also a guy ahead of me, but too far ahead for me to catch.  Can't wait for the final steep down and the junction with the other road.  Then I know I am very close.  Hit the flat, look back and he is still getting closer.  Put on quite a sprint, going all out and glad that I feel OK, hoping he will not catch me.  Cross the finish line and the guy is right behind me.  Wow he made me run faster than I would have otherwise.

Finishers beanie hat is super nice.  Cool medal.  I win a free pair of shoes at the raffle.  The feeling of success and accomplishment has me thinking that I will come back again next year.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to challenge myself and to get a supported trip deep into Capitol Forest.

24 hours later - ankles and parts of feet hurt, but not so bad.  Everything else seems fine.

35th of 49 finishers
Marathon or Ultra#138

Monday, March 7, 2016

3/5/16 Dupont City Trail Marathon

First time event.  So close to home this is a must do for me.  For many years now I have stopped here, after work, on my way home, to get in a mid week run, on one of the many trails in this town.  Usually I stick to the paved trails, but often I go on the packed gravel.  If I want a little hill action there is the scenic trail down to the water.  RD John put together a scenic tough course and I am looking forward to it, even though I have run every step of it before, most of it many times.

And the weather is looking great!  After so much rain and the potential for showers today, it is going to be a sunny and warm Spring-like day.  Some runners will even see snakes on the trail.

Race is limited to 50 in the full and 50 in the half and it is sold out.  Plenty of room for parking though, right at the little park by the start line.  Lots of Marathon Maniac friends and I am looking forward to showing off "my trails" to them.  I just hope everything is marked well, because there are many connections and possibilities to go off course.  The map on the website makes it look like a simple double out and back with very short loops at each end.

Start - The Rogue Wave is here running the half and we start off together at a nice easy pace.  Crowded but at least we can run two side by side on the paved, then packed gravel trail.  Trails are mostly very packed dirt/gravel and some pavement, so I wear my road shoes, the shoes I always wear when I run here.  Now approaching "Grand Junction" and I see many runners streaming in from the right.  I know that we are supposed to turn left, but many are turning right and some are standing there unsure.  I yell to just go left and the people near me do.

Beach - 3 miles in.  The long gradual downhill was fine.  Now a short out and back on the beach.  Farther than I expected and on to the very loose gravel.  Energy sucking section with gravel moving and feet sinking and sliding on the gravel.  But terrific views.  On the way back we will not do this little bit, but I will have to do it again at mile 16 on my second time on the course.  Now up the steep switch back hill to the bluff.  Nice gentle run along the bluff and out to the aid station.

Mile 5 - Well stocked aid station.  Feeling good.  Ashley slows some and I go on ahead.  This should be a quick out and back with a little loop, staying along the bluff.  But no, we are directed across the street.  On a trail behind a different set of houses.  And steep hills too.  Twisting up and down and across a couple more streets.  I have only run here once or twice before and I was not expecting this today.  I am getting confused, but am following the markers.  Somehow back along the bluff and happy to see runners that are ahead of me coming back.

Mile 7 - The little loop part.  But this is really discouraging.  After the loop, if we go back the way we came, this is going to be a very long course, about 28 miles!  The problem is that I have a family commitment this afternoon.  I really need a sub 5:15 finish time, and under 5 hours would be much better.  Here I am at 1:15 in and just reaching the turn around.  With a second half slowing, this is not looking good.  I guess that I will have to ask them if I can get a finish as a half marathon and/or take a DNF.  But wait, we are taking a different way back and here I am at that aid station again and on an accurate mileage course.  Whew!

Mile 10 - Running with Suzanne and Dan which is always nice.  Up the long hill, we do well, but I want a gel and a short walk break so they get ahead.  Back at Grand Junction I see them continue straight and keep going a long way.  I yell but they do not hear.  At the junction I see lots of ribbons and clearly we are supposed to go straight.  Then a quick right turn up a steep thing, then down to the main trail.  Back where I know I should be and an easy trail to the finish of the loop......

Mile 12 - .......except for the little loop by the pond.  I go passed the finish area and the trail takes me out to the main road.  Turn left and in just a short way there is a small trail back to the left and down.  I have run this little thing only once before and not when the lake was flooded.  We had been warned that there were three big puddles here, and they were not exaggerating.  The trail goes directly into the lake and is thigh deep and long.  The next two puddles are only shin/knee deep.  No getting around them.  Then 50 yards to the finish line.  Fun way to end a race, but not the best way to mark the halfway point.

Mile 13.1 - Wishing I had worn my trail shoes.  Socks and shoes are heavy and squishy, but I think the socks are staying in place.  Completed the first half in 2:20 so I can slow a lot on the second half and still make 5 hours.  Feeling much better about getting done in time, no thought of stopping now.

Mile 16 - Walk the beach this time.  No need to fight it.  Walk up the steep hill too, but moving along.  Run the bluff all the way to the aid station.

Mile 18 - Now I am prepared for this up and down and street crossing stretch.  Just have to tough this out and the rest will come in short sections.  With 8 miles to go, I can run 13 minute miles and be close to 5 hours.  This should be very doable, even with some walk breaks.

Mile 21 - 3:55 on the clock.  Keep it under a 13 minute mile and I will hit 5 hours.  No need to push harder than that.  I also would like to save something for next week's mountain marathon.  Happy that I can run slowly for long sections.  Even the mile long uphill is not so bad and I only walk a little of it.

Mile 23 - Dan and Suzanne finally catch me, after making up time from going long.  Funny, this is the same scene as 2.5 hours ago.  Watching those two get ahead and approach grand junction.  This time they hit the proper turn.  Sub 5 looks very promising, but it will be close.

Mile 25 - Tired but no pains.  It has been a good run on a tough course.  Slow but steady pace for the second half and I never felt oh so tired.  Fun to wade through the puddles knowing that the end is so close.

Mile 26.2 - Finish in just under5 hours.  Wish I could stay but I really need to get home.  Walk to my car and drive home without changing my sopping shoes.  Make it in time to shower and on with the day's activities.

21st place of 44 finishers
Race#380, marathon or ultra #137