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

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