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

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