Ran this once before, two years ago. Great option if I am not doing the big Seattle race on Sunday. Easy parking just off the highway and $20 entry fee day of race. Part of the Seattle Quadzilla, so lots of Maniacs here. Monte running number 501.
Green River paved trail, the same trail I raced on three weeks ago. This time a double out and back from Tukwilla to the Three Friends Fishing Hole, where the race earlier this month started.
After a wet and stormy day yesterday, it looks like very good running weather today. Cool but dry, the sun will even peek out a little.
Day after Thanksgiving so I have some dietary indiscretions to deal with. I ran a good tempo run on Sunday then a huge hill climb (4 miles up Mount Walker, then flew 4 miles down) on Monday. Here it is Friday and not sure how it will go. No real time goal, though it would be great to beat my time from 2015.
Start - Many runners in the half and we all go out along the sidewalk for a crowded but relaxed start. Hat, gloves and jacket, though I will take off the gloves soon.
Mile 1 - 9:40 which is faster than it felt. I would be happy with 10/mile but I don't slow down as I am warming up and everything feels good. Except the side of my left foot which is giving a fairly sharp and surprising pain now. Very much unexpected, I shift my stride a little and it goes away, comes back, then goes away for good. That was weird and a little scary, if it had continued I would have dropped out, and I really did not see that coming.
Mile 2 - On the trail near the river, but now there are orange arrows and xs on the course and pointing in various directions. Some arrows are pointing to the street and sort of back the way we came and some runners want to go that way. I am sure that we are supposed to continue on the trail here, but what about the way back? Our route was very clear getting here, I assume we go back the same way.
It would not be a race along the Green River without some route confusion. The County is always doing trail maintenance and levee work and there are often detours. My race here three weeks ago (In Unity We Run) had the least confusion, with one spot that looked closed but with good communication from the RD we were sure this was the right way. Today there is also a 50K with the half and full (the full being advertised as 27 miles) and I do not know if the 50K people might have a different route.
Mile 4.5 - 9:23 average pace and feeling great. Larry Macon sighting (world record holder for most marathons) Aid station (the only one on the course but we will hit it 4 times). Now the bridge across the river and then that long curved part, where Deb and I were longing for the finish line three weeks ago. Today I know just what we have to do, and after the curve and the next one (with fast runners coming back) it is under the overpass and reach the turn around.
Mile 6.76 - Turn around. This would make a 27 mile course. Pedro sighting. He is behind me! But he ran a marathon yesterday and has one tomorrow and the next day. He is probably still warming up and also running conservatively. I should be faster than most of the quad people so maybe my results will look good, despite whatever time I run.
Mile 11 - Back at the questionable spot. We shout to a runner heading off that way and David Pearson and I convince her to follow us the way we came. Also see runners coming back from that way and others who were just ahead of us, now coming towards us.
Mile 11.5 - Now at another bridge and there is Pedro and three others with him, coming in from the side and crossing ahead of us. The other route must be quite a bit shorter than what we did. And not fair!
Mile 13.5 - Reach the start/finish/turn around in about 2:13. Head right back out. Now I just wonder how much stamina I have. Running with David.
Mile 15.5 - He convinces me that we are supposed to take the street route after the crossing, but we lose the arrows and work our way back to the trail in a short bit through a parking lot. Run the next 8 miles with David. He is almost deaf and it is a challenge to communicate. He reads lips great, and that is just a little hard when we are running side by side. I have known him for a few years and watched him get faster than me, and run more races. He is on race two of four in four days. We talk a lot more than I expected and it gets easier. I have been expecting to hit the wall, and though we take some walk breaks they are short. I sort of want to be left to my own misery, but David is staying with me, saying he might go off faster at mile 23 or so. He pushes me along and although tired, I am not really struggling or in any pain. We both enjoy a Sabrina sighting.
Mile 23 - David gives me a fist bump and heads off faster. Just before the aid station I see a young runner sitting on the side of the trail with her shoes off. I ask her if she is OK and it is just blisters that she is tending to. And yes, she is racing tomorrow.
Mile 25 - The orange arrow junction. Look back and there is a guy almost there. I ask which way to go and he suggests that we turn right. We both think it will be shorter and we both have adequate mileage on our watches. We take this route and I am surprised with how much mileage it cuts off. Orange arrows clearly take us to the bridge. My new running buddy is picking up speed and I am flagging. Push on hoping to beat my 4:34 from 2015, but pretty sure I won't make it. Now the long sidewalk to the finish so far away. Run the whole way, feel good, but happy to be done.
Finish - 26.73 miles on the GPS. No time to chat or have pancakes. Head directly to the car for the hour drive and oh I am so stiff when I get home. But a nice day of running and I am happy with my endurance and only being a minute slower than two years ago.
Race #403, Marathon or Ultra #147