First time here at this 15th annual event. Great option for a low key race put on by Steve Barrick. Like his bigger race that I have done, the Green River Marathon, this race will be on the paved trail along the river. But by being out and back (first upstream and back, then downstream and back) there is no logistical issue of transportation. Start and finish is just off I-5 and less than an hour from home, with good parking and restrooms. $20 dollar donation to the food bank. Aid station near each turn around and at the half, so with six miles between aid, a water bottle is needed.
In an amazing coincidence I am assigned bib#402 and this happens to by my lifetime race number #402.
I had three long races close together in September and October, but now it has been 4 weeks with no long run. Not sure if I have even gone more than seven miles at once. I needed the rest but now I have no idea where my endurance is. With the rain and potentially lonely course, I have no real time goal, just get it done and get in a good workout. Small race, but I know quite a few people so hopefully I will run with a friend or two.
Start - Light rain with lots more expected. Half and full line up together, with some early starters gone out an hour ago. Then we are off. I feel good and find a nice pace that feels a little fast.
Mile 1 - Still a little dark and it is hard to see my watch, but it looks like I am at 12 minute/mile pace. That is impossible. Dan W says that we are at 9:45 pace which sounds about right. My GPS erred in the fist mile and will be off the whole race. About then a strong wind and tremendous burst of rain soak us all. I stop to put on my trash bag, lose Dan but pick up Crockpot.
Mile 2-6 - Run with the Crockpot and it is nice company. She is just doing the half today with big adventures last weekend and next weekend. Heavy rain lets up but the light stuff will continue all day. Have to watch for puddles on the paved trail. My feet feel wet, but not soaked through or heavy. We see Monte and Leslie, and then Deb and Steve coming back, after taking the early start. An idea forms that I could continue running at a decent pace and catch them around mile 20 or so. Ideally at mile 22 when I know I will be tired and slowing, then I can just slow and take walk breaks and run at their pace, but have company for the last miles and still get a marathon finish and good workout without pushing it so much.
Mile 10 - Running steady, alone and passing a couple of guys. Got the average pace to sub 10 minutes per mile, forgetting that it really is faster than that with the GPS screw up. Short walk breaks to drink or have a gel and then back at it. Small temptation to quit when I get to the halfway point. It would be easy to do and I think that with the weather, some runners will do this or did not even show up. But I need the long run and I feel OK, so I know I will go on.
Mile 13.1 - Back to the start/finish. Steve B is calling out times and I think he said 2:06 something which seems fast. I did not look at my watch but I guess that is possible/likely. Get water at the aid table and there are Deb and Steve F. I caught them way sooner than expected and neither was having the best day. In fact they are discussing whether to drop out here. I want some company and I encourage/cajole them to keep going. They decide to have a go at it and we set out together.
Mile 15 - Really nice chatting with Deb and Steve. Easy slow pace, but lots of long walk breaks. I don't mind the walk breaks but they are quite a bit longer than I would do. Still when we start running again, every time it gets a little harder. Get passed by most of the runners who I had gotten ahead of earlier, but I don't care. No drive or interest in any particular finish time now. Just have a nice run with friends.
Mile 20 - Steve is tiring and needing to walk more and more. Deb does not want to get ahead of him, since he waited for her earlier. I don't feel like I should leave either of them since I encouraged them to keep going after the half. They would not mind so much but really I don't see the purpose of ditching them at this point.
Mile 24 - Feeling a little cold with the slower pace, but overall it has been OK even with all the rain. The rain has just about stopped now and I am ready to be done. Let Deb set the pace and times of the walk breaks. Steve tells us to go on, he is just going to walk it in from here. So we do go on. Long bend in the river when we think the end is near, takes a while to get around but finally there is the bridge and we are done.
Mile 26.2 - Just a couple of people left at the finish line and only a few more runners out on the course. I wait for Steve, who thanks me for encouraging him to continue and Deb says she is glad to have gotten the long run in. So we are all happy and soon to by dry. I will have an easy recovery and will be back on most of this course for a marathon on the day after Thanksgiving. I plan to run faster then, unless it is raining, or unless I decide to stay with friends.
5:14:14 (2:06/3:08 split!!)
30th of 40
Race#402, Marathon or Ultra#146