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

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