Sunday, October 8, 2017

10/8/17 Shuck and Share 5K

Back here after a few years away.  Now it is a local race, since we just moved to Hood Canal full time!  Actually in the middle of moving, it was tough to find decent clothes to wear but we made it work.  Cold for the 8AM start, but dry.  $25 entry includes a nice pair of running socks, chip timed, free entry to Oysterfest and all of the promo items that the PUD#3 could not give away recently.  Plastic cup, Seahawks schedule on a magnet, clip thing, blinking safety light, tiny paper pad shaped like a light bulb, pen and many more things that we really don't know what to do with, especially this week.  Chipped timed by the other Fritz.  Great organization, raffles, timing, course, volunteers.  This all more than makes up for the Sunday race (not my preference) and the Active dot com registration. 

Start - mile and a half warm up and I feel ready to go.  See a few friends at the start, but then we are off.  Lots of kids here, so many bunched up at the start line.  I stay back and hope to pick off many of them as the race progresses.

Mile 0.2 - First kid is walking, another is veering left to right.  Since we have a whole lane blocked off with cones, plus the shoulder, there is plenty of room to run and pass.

Mile 1.0 - 7:33 - Feeling really good and passing people gradually. The long flat straight stretch is really nice.

Mile 1.5 - Now the turn and the short ups and downs.  Pace slows but no one passes me.

Mile 2.0 - Gaining on a young man, but watching a kid farther ahead who keeps looking back.  We are gradually catching him.  I pass the man and suggest that we can both pass this kid who keeps turning around.  This gives me the incentive to keep at it, plus the course if flatter here.  Push really hard and get closer to the kid, but he turns it on at the end and it is never close.

Mile 3.1 - Finish (3.07 on the GPS).  No pains or issues of any kind and I have been a long while now without any nagging injury.  Sixteen seconds slower than two years ago, but my fastest 5K in a year and a half.  Cheer on Jody and the others.

Love the quick print out of results.  Jody wins some Tupperware in the raffle which will roll around in the trunk of my car until the move is complete.  She is happy with her time and we are back home before 9:30.  Nice way to start the day.


23:27
16th place of 136
Race#427, 5K#112
*****

Sunday, September 24, 2017

9/24/17 Bellingham Bay Marathon

My favorite marathon! Eleventh year in a row!  Ten year anniversary of joining the Marathon Maniacs!  Perfect weather!  Tracy and Mica to run with! Its going to be a great day!

After so many years we have this down to a routine.  Don't even have to remind Connie to have a bagel and banana ready for me in the morning.  Great to stay with them as usual.  Park in the same spot and make the second shuttle bus to the start.

I have gushed about how well organized this event is and how nice the welcome center is at the Lummi reservation. Another year of awesomeness. One of the RDs thanks us for supporting youth sports by running today.  Lummi singers and dancers do their welcome again and it is so cool.  Youth volunteers everywhere and so many along the course.

Start - We meet Mica's friend Cherry and the 4 of us are all thinking of running about 4:30 with no pressure for a time goal.  Tracy does not even have a watch.  Just a little cool when we get outside, but no wind and it is going to be fabulous weather.  Across the start mat and I hold back about two seconds, on the off chance that Tracy and I finish together at which point I will beat her by chip time.  That is so lame of me!

Mile 2 - So much for the slow pace.  Mica and Cherry have struck out ahead of us and now Tracy and I pass the 4:15 pacer.  I did not care for the crowded big pack when we were just behind the pacer, now that we are in front it is easy running, but probably way too fast.

Mile 4 - Bald eagle sightings.  Beautiful morning along the calm bay.  Chatting with Tracy.  She says how much success one can have if they can dissociate from what the feet are doing.  Talking with a friend makes the miles drift by so easy.  I hope that we can keep talking later in the race, when we need the distraction.

Mile 9 - So many youth out there at the aid stations.  It dawns on my that some of them were not born yet when I started running this race and others are now adults.  Long line of kids with water cups, but one boy has a container with salty corn chips.  Tracy and I both take some and the kids all start laughing.  Apparently that was his snack his mom had packed and he offered it out there as an experiment to see if anyone would partake.  Fun times.  Thanks kid!

Mile 11 - Now it seems longer to the out and back section.  But we get there and I like seeing the other runners.  Fellow legacy athletes Celina and Eric are here, so the three of us continue to keep our streak going.  By the way, the RD has given us free entries for life, as long as we keep the streaks going.

Mile 12 - Things start getting rough.  We have caught back up with Mica and Cherry because they have slowed.  Tracy and I start to slow just a little too.  Up and down my left leg from feet to knee to hip I get little pains and stiffness.  All last week, after the GOAT marathon, the tops of both feet had been sensitive, but they are fine now.  This stiffness is not fun and I sure hope it does not get worse.

Mile 14 - My energy level feels good but I am happy to take a walk break any time some one wants one.  Leg discomfort is not so bad but is nagging.

Mile 16 - Tracy stops at a restroom and I walk on, knowing that she will catch up.  Look back and don't see her.  Keep walking.  I see the big hill up ahead and I don't want to walk all the way there only to have her catch up and then us walk some more up the hill.  So I start jogging at a slow pace. Reach the hill and I keep running slowly.

Mile 17 - Merge with the half but the last runner may have gone by.  Takes me a while to pass one, then another.  It will gradually get more crowded with slow halfers but never be a problem.  I wish there were more, like in the old days when they started 2 hours after us and I was faster.  Then it was a big energy boost.  Now it is a little lonely and I am struggling by myself.

Mile 18 - Take the ibuprofen that I meant to take two miles ago.  Into the residential neighborhood with its little hills.  And then Tracy catches up to me!  Nice to have my buddy back and someone to get me through the miles.

Mile 19 - Just as I am remembering the cookie girl, there is her table with fresh oatmeal cookies.  So nice.  I am dreading the next 5 miles, but by the time we go through the park Mica and Cherry catch up and reach mile 20, my leg is feeling much better.  I don't know if it was the pills or a change in stride but the leg will be a non issue now.  Start doing math about beating 4:30.  Should be in range, but it is a long way to go.  Seems like it is still a good goal to push toward.

Mile 21 - My least favorite part of the course and I was complaining about it to Tracy, but it goes great.  Two miles mostly on sidewalk, with driveway crossings and along train tracks.  This is where I usually melt down and Tracy suggests that having a bad experience at one spot can have you remember it and then have it again the next year.  With fewer halfers out there we don't have to dodge much and I can't believe how soon we are going up the bridge hill to the area right by the finish.

Mile 22 - That short bit where we go opposite the runners sprinting to the finish.  Wendy Hawthorn sighting!  Coming in for a sub 3:45.  "Don't stop, Wendy!"  "Go get that 3:45!"  She does.  Now the gravel path.  Feeling really good, way better than an hour ago.  Tracy and I just chugging along, Mica and Cherry back a ways.  I hear a train and start hoping that we will be stopped at the crossing.  A forced break, where they will adjust our chip time, sounds great.  But alas we just miss being stopped and have to continue down to the water.

Mile 23 - We have been without a walk break for a long time.  Tracy seems willing and able to do anything I want.  I suggest that we walk the last bit of boardwalk, to enjoy the scenery, and then make ourselves run up the steep hill away from the water.  Stupid plan but we go for it.  Just as Mica catches us, we start running up the hill as she walks like a normal person.

Mile 25 - Sub 4:30 will happen.  Feeling great but need to dissociate. If we can keep talking I think I can do the rest of this without walking.  Tracy is a little concerned that Mica is going to zoom past us, we both know what a strong runner she is.  So I launch into a story about my long lost friend who I just reconnected with and who lives in Key West but did not evacuate during the hurricane, but she is OK.  And we keep running and the pace is fast enough that Tracy does not ditch me and we do not walk and mile 26 arrives.

Mile 26.1 - There is Jody and Jared and I try to explain how we ended up with two cars in Bellingham and I should just be enjoying the finish, but friends of Mica's yell and we realize that she is making her move and the four of us all cross within a second of each other.  So my sneaky trick at the start line works to give me the chip time advantage.  But I never would have been so fast and well run without each of my pals out there today.

Mile 26.2 - So happy and feeling great.  Find RD Ben and tell him how much I love this race.  Then find Jody and Jared.  Such a positive experience it makes me want to run more marathons!

4:25:46
187th place of 329
Race#426
Marathon or Ultra#159
Bellingham Bay Marathon#11
******



Monday, September 18, 2017

9/16/17 GOAT Marathon

Fourth time here with the same awesome course and same awesomely organized event.  This year I have Jody and Nickie running the half.  I sure hope they like it as much as I do.

Last dry day of the Summer.  Rain will come tomorrow, but today will be so nice and sunny and not too warm.  Trail is dusty in lots of places and I don't have my gaiters, but it does not matter.

Start - Uneventful drive and shuttle to the start area.  Pleasant cool temperature.  Nice to see Monte.  Another year where I am surprised at how small the race is, given my rave reviews.  We start off right on time.

Mile 2 - We should have thinned out sooner, but I am near the back of a lengthy bunched up group.  I count 9 right ahead of me and three behind me.  The pace is fine, but moving right along.  I know it will be a long day so I step aside and then walk a bit.  Now I am alone and will be mostly alone the rest of the way.  If I am lucky I will pass most of that pack.

Mile 5 - Passed one at the aid station, now making a move on another.  Feeling good and enjoying the day.  Fun to be here again and see the same sights.  Just when I remember the abandoned vehicle in the middle of the woods, there it is, with another year of rust.

Using the elevation on my watch rather than distance.  Walk a little up the steeper parts, but still a very runnable course.  I know that when I reach 1,900 feet I am at the top of the first big hill.  Then the gentle downgrade. 

Mile 13 - Join the half course.  Fun to think that Jody was here a while ago.  Hope to catch up to her, but it is unlikely. 

Then the clear cut and amazing view of the straight and Canada.  Back into the deep woods.

Mile 18 - Did I mention that I am under trained compared to previous years?  No injuries, but no marathon in 9 weeks.  Since July my mileage is OK, but long runs of only 18 and 15 have me concerned that I will not endure.  And now it does get tough.  And I think of the Bellingham marathon next weekend.  Lots of walk breaks and in fact it is getting very difficult to run at all.  The slightest uphill and I am walking whether I want to or not.  Try to keep drinking fluids and eating what I can. 

One more hill, then the semi clear cut and the rocky downhill road to the real dirt road.

The long slog on the road is better than expected.  I run slowly for a mile at a time, chugging along OK.  Even pass one half marathoner and a full.  Near the end I am pretty sure that I will not beat my worst time here.  With no one in front and no one behind and a long race next weekend, I have little motivation to push it. 

So happy to get on to the paved road and know that I am almost done.  Look back and no one catching up.  I walk up the steep hill, then cruise in to the finish.

Finish - Decent run today.  No falls and nothing hurts.  So great to see Jody with her feet in the water and in great spirits.  She really liked the race too and we both plan to come back next year.


5:18:31
31st of 41
Marathon#158
Race#425
GOAT Run#4
*****

Sunday, August 27, 2017

8/26/17 Watermelon Rumble 5K


Late into August and I have not raced since mid July!  Training has been good and mileage is up, just the weekends are so busy with other things.  Some great hikes around Mt Rainier and the Olympics, I'm thinking of starting a blog for our day hikes.  When I read about this 5K I jumped at the chance.  I also realized that this would allow my streak of running at least one race per calendar month to continue past 32!

$10 entry!! Put on by Terra Perkins and Tailwind Runners!!  On the trails at Priest Point Park so close to home!  Weather is so nice!  Watermelon and raffles after!  5K and 10K options, I am going to run the 5K

Great to see some friends and even chat with runners I have not met before. 

Only issue before the race is not fully knowing the course.  I wish that I ran here more often.  I am provided with a map, but that only confuses me a little.  A little worried about the cross trails over near the water.  But Terra tells us all to take the long loop over there, staying along the water and also she has marked the route with ribbon.  I am uncomfortable enough that I take a copy of the map to carry with me.





Start - We line up at the rose garden, at the stop sign by the turn to the bridge.  We are all facing forward but will immediately turn left and go over East Bay Drive.  I position myself on the left so that when we start I am in front and have room to run.  There are about 50 runners here, most doing the 5K.  No fast folks other than Martinho and he is running the 10K.

Mile 0.1 - Over the bridge, right and down the parking lot, left on to East Bay and quick left on the trail.  I am leading the way.

Mile 0.4 - Gnarly trail.  Serious up and down.  Over wood bridges, up wooden steps, single track roots and rocks.  Martinho catches up to me and we navigate together.  No one else close behind.  When my heart is not pounding from the uphill climbs, this is super fun.  Side trail to the left, but that just goes to an overlook....I think.  Another side trail right and Martinho says that one goes down to the beach.  Unsure if we are going the right way, almost going to turn back, and then there is a ribbon. 

Mile 1 - Another questionable spot and I pull out my map which helps me gain confidence, then another ribbon so we are sure we are OK.

Mile 1.3 - "Major" trail intersection.  We stop and see a ribbon for our left turn, but to my dismay there are 4 runners coming at us from the right.  They clearly took a shorter route and since we saw the ribbons on every piece of trail we were on I am sure that they inadvertently cut the course short, but Martinho and I have done it correctly.  I think I am still in front but a pack is on my heels so I pick it up about as fast as I can on this wider flat section.

Mile 1.5 - Water stop and exit at Flora Vista Road.  I ask if I am in front and they say no, I am in 5th place.  Turn on to East Bay and I can see 4 runners ahead of me, some quite far.  So discouraging and frustrating!!  I have to have a serious attitude check.  I think of how some people would get all bent out of shape and demand justice from the race director.  But really this is meant to be a fun run and I am grateful to be out here.  The 10K runners should turn left here, but none of them do.  This will create mass confusion for that race. 

Mile 2 - Back over the bridge and loop down to the road again.  I pass one guy and enter the trail on the east side of the park.  Working hard I pass two together, who admit that their distance is short as we know we are near the end.  Can't see the first place person so no need to push it hard on the last bit

Finish - Cross the line and find that Jenny has been declared the winner.  We discuss the route and compare GPS distances as the others come in.  I seem to be about two tenths of a mile longer than the others.  My watch reads 2.91 miles.  There is no way to fix things, so Terra will just leave the results as is.  There is no prize for overall winner and I can claim first male if I want to brag. 





Decide to jog a mile cool down and find Martinho coming back on the road.  I run with him and when we have to stop to consult the map, Bill zooms by on his bike.  The 10K as Martinho ran it is going to be very short, so he loops around, finds a random trail and eventually connects with another 10K runner and they just run around until they get in 6.2 miles.

Meanwhile it is watermelon and raffle time.  Pleasant post race atmosphere.  A few raffles like a "Gu boquet" but the big prize is that Terra has divided the race proceeds into two prizes each of $250 cash.  Alas I do not win, but we are all so happy to see a young lady (going into 8th grade I think) take home one of the big cash awards.

So a mess of a course in a couple of places, but I would totally come run this one again.

29:17
Race#424, 5K#111
*****

Saturday, July 22, 2017

7/22/17 WA State Senior Games 5K


 


Second time here.  This year we are at North Thurston High School so it is very close to home.  Sign up the day of and it is $42 with shirt.  I could enter more track and field events for only $9 each, but the 5K is enough for today.

Marathon last Saturday. After that my "Summer Sniffles" got worse.  Also lack of sleep with kids here.  Monday I had to get up at 3:45 to get them to the airport.  Monday I was so tired but as the week progressed I felt better.  Very easy running T-Th with a day off yesterday.

1.5 mile warm up.  Fun to start on the track.  Race is so small but there are lots of other events here so it is a busy place.  Saw an old guy struggle to get out of his car, then saw the can of Red Bull in his hand.  Chip timed by Terry again.  Small tag is pinned to my shorts at the left hip.  Guy asks me if that is my good hip.

Start - Start on the track.  I get behind Tim Oguri.  Either he or Pat will win.  No need to stress about possibly winning.  We start with the 10K and right away there are a bunch of people in front of me.

Mile 0.5 - Out the stadium, through the parking lot, along the road and police escort across Slater Kinney.  Now a longer straight bit.  Three guys way ahead, then one woman who I will not catch.  One guy closer and I slowly reel him in.

Mile 1 - Along Martin Way and now onto the Chehalis Western Trail.  Ron Volunteering.  Rachel sighting, she says that if I can talk I am not running fast enough.  It is hard to focus on the pace, but I feel OK.  Fun to be along the same course as last week.  Then it was mile 19 and a lot easier pace.  See two of the guys come back, one is going on for the 10K course.  Turn around and I take a quick cup of water.  The guy that I passed is not far behind, good incentive to keep working.

Mile 2 - Sad to leave the cool shade and return to the much hotter roads.  Just after mile 2 marker I see the 90 year old man finishing his first mile.  Doing great!  He will finish looking strong and well under an hour.

Mile 2.5 - Trying to focus.  Legs are sore from last week.  Getting really hot.  But my place is secure.  Once I hit the track I sprint to the finish.

Mile 3.1 - 3.09 on the GPS.  I am happy enough with my finish time.  Being the only one in my age group I get to stand on the podium and have a gold medal draped around my neck.


 



Fun event.  More folks should do it.

24:13
4th of 15, 1st in age group
Race #423, 5K#110
*****

Monday, July 17, 2017

7/15/17 Trials Legacy Marathon





My first time here at this second annual event, a marathon that retraces the course of the Women's Olympic Trials marathon, held in Olympia before the 1984 Olympics (the first Olympics that women where allowed to compete in the marathon).  I heard (but don't quote me on this) that the RDs are trying to raise money to erect a statue/monument in Marathon Park to commemorate that race.  I love the idea of another local marathon, though I could not make it last year, I was happy to register early for this. The $80 entry fee is not bad considering we get a shirt, socks, medal and a whole lot of volunteer and police support.

A number of things happened recently to take away my competitive spirit though.  I have not run farther than 7 miles since June 18.  Trip to England and then Caleb and family visiting messed with my normal routine.  Birthday party with cake and ice cream last night.  Started feel a cold (the Summer Sniffles) coming on yesterday.  Seven days ago I ran very hard to win the Mcleary Bear 10K.  I think that my legs will be OK, but my competitive spirit needs a break.  No desire to push myself hard.  Oh and it is going to get very warm out, another reason to take it easy.  Plus the course......not having run this race before and knowing that it is a small event, I am afraid that we may be on sidewalks a lot and probably have to stop for traffic lights at times.  At packet pickup yesterday I learn that there are only 35 runners registered.  So disappointing.  The Lakefair half and 8K will be going on at the same time, with hundreds of runners, but I will be out there all alone.  Best thing is to find someone or two who are OK with a slower pace and stick with them.

Enter Vicki and Emillie.  I first met them in April at Blooms to Brews and have since seen them at Capital City and the Seattle Rock and Roll.  I knew that today is a special day for them and since they finished behind me at each of those races, I hope to run with them today and have it be easier for me than if I really ran for time.  This will be Vicki's 100th marathon and she is finishing a goal set be her late husband, so it is a very meaningful day for them.  They are pleased to see me and seem happy that I want to tag along with them.

Start - At Heritage and Evergreen Parkway.  Easy parking here, but getting back from the finish (3 miles away) is not entirely figured out.  Bright sun and warm enough to start in just short sleeves.  Crockpot is here as is Maniac Laura, so I have another option of someone to run with, but for now I will stick with Vicki and Emillie.  Chipped timed, but no mat at the start line.  Such a small group though the start is smooth with plenty of room to run on the quiet street.

Mile 4 - A bit of a rough start  but now I am feeling warmed up and running relaxed.  Over Highway 101, down second ave to Littlerock road.  Over I-5 and up Capital Way.  I know this whole course but seldom run on any of the first 18 miles.  Traffic will build and the roads will get busy.  It may have been a nice course in 1982, with closed roads, but with all the development and our little race, it may not be so fun.  Yes it is as flat as you can get around here, but I would take scenery and hills and quiet roads compared to this.  Matt sighting, followed by Rob sighting.  Thanks for volunteering!

Mile 13 - 2:18 on the clock.  We are hoping to beat 5 hours, so we are in great shape.  Very uneventful morning so far.  Warming enough to start pouring water on my head.  So pleased with the number of volunteers, course marshals (in bright shirts) and police at road crossings.  No waiting for traffic lights.  Aid stations every two miles.  Never a questions of where to turn on the course.  But the best part by far is running with my new friends.  They think that I am sweet to run with them, but the miles are just easing by in pleasant conversation and I am happy to be here with them.  Perhaps mother and daughter have run out of things to talk about after 8 marathons in 16 weeks, they seem so happy to have me with them and to talk about whatever.  They keep saying how nice I am, plus they think that I am a fast runner.  They also have family and friends up from Portland just to spectate and help them celebrate this achievement.  It is a nice diversion every time we see them.  In the mean time we have settled in to a steady pace.  Yelm Highway sidewalk, College Street, 45th Ave, Ruddle Road (with cones so we can run in the road); these are roads I would never choose to run on.

Mile 15 - Starting to tire.  I expect that we will take walk breaks soon.  But Emillie says that her Mom does not walk, just slows a little. Emillie is still running on her toes, like a deer.  For now Vickie is running strong and I begin to wonder if I will be able to keep up.  Yes I came in ahead of them in three races this year, but now that I think about it, they were very close behind me in each one.  We really are very well matched to be running together. Right shoulder is bugging me.  Water bottle with phone is heavy.  I take two ibuprofen.  I often carry some with me but seldom use it.

Mile 18 - Through St Martins, then back along and over I-5.  Now the course will get nicer.  The shade on the Western Chehalis trail is so welcome.  After that long gradual uphill, we get a nice downhill.  We pass a couple of runners and are maintaining our pace.  I feel better after that bad patch.  Just hot and tired, nothing hurts, shoulder is under control, I think the ibuprofen helped. 

Mile 21 - On to 26th street (no road shoulder or shade) for about 2 miles and then it will be along the bay and gentle down to downtown. Vicki is running like a machine.  I want to take a walk break.  Instead I push on ahead.  Until this point I had been careful to not get ahead, let Vickie set the pace, but I just want to be done with this section.  I can see the aid station and the turn onto Ames road up ahead.  I get into the zone and trudge on, planning to wait for them in the shade.  Alone for the first time in this race, work really hard to get through this section.  Walk into the aid station and look back, and Emillie and Vicki are only a few feet behind me.  No rest for the weary, we continue on together.

Mile 24 - So nice coming down East Bay.  Gentle breeze and gentle downhill.  Making great time.  We want Vickie to finish however she wants but we all realize that a sub 4:40 is very possible.

Mile 26 - Downtown, so great to see that mile marker.  No problem reaching 4:40.  But then the last 0.2 miles seem long.  My watch had been running 0.1 miles long, now it reaches 26.4 at the finish. 

Mile 26.2 - Vickie's friends are here with balloons and 100 roses.  I make sure that they finish a step ahead of me.  Hugs all around.  Each of us happy with how the run went.  Watermelon and orange slices and water.  Jared and Caleb are here to drive me back to my car so I do not stay long.  Buy a cold Mountain Dew and it is so good!

My watch read 4:38:40 but a volunteer at the finish said that our time as 4:37:40, looking at a clipboard.  Also I did not see a chip reader at the finish, don't know what is up with that, but I don;t care.

I had a much more fun day than I expected, thanks to my new friends and a well organized and supported course.  The running was good too, with great pacing and an even split time!  The course with the mostly ugly busy roads and long stretches in the hot July sun, and the small numbers are reasons why I might go back to the half at Lakefair next year.


Results pending
Race#422, Marathon or Ultra#157
*****



Saturday, July 8, 2017

7/8/17 Mcleary Run From The Bears 10K

Today the Mcleary Bear Festival 10K will join the pantheon of races that I have run at least 5 times.  Fun little race that is an easy choice if I don't have better plans for that day.  Sunny and warm.  I arrive in plenty of time to get my parking spot.  Same RD as last year, who is again not really advertising this race.  Last year we had six in the 10K and this year there will be seven.  The two miler option is more popular with about 20 runners and walkers in that.  Same course as last year, except we will run the loop counterclockwise this year, finishing down main street before a final turn to the finish line.  Same side of the road as previous years, this way will be facing traffic which will make it a little safer.  $10 Day of Race entry with the no shirt option is much appreciated.

I jog the 0.2 miles from the registration/finish area to the start line on the quiet side street.  Then a longer warm up and I am feeling ready to race.  Just before 9AM the other runners and the RD, volunteers and a police officer arrive.  We are all standing in a semi circle listening to the safety briefing as I evaluate the competition.  One young guy looks really fast and my hopes of winning are dashed.  Also two very fit looking woman who I imagine could be faster than me. 

Start - With little fanfare both races take off.  Very short way down the quiet road and cross the larger street to then turn right, as the two milers turn left.  I am even with one woman, but out of the corner of my eye, I see the young guy turn left to run the 2 miler.  I pull ahead of the woman.

Mile 0.2 - There are so many ways that one can feel while running.  Very rare for me is the exciting yet scary feeling of leading a race.  I know that someone is right behind me and that I need to just do my thing and not go so fast.  Steady but strong and able to go a little faster if needed.  10K is a tough distance to get right.  My breath is worse than my legs.

Mile 0.8 - I know that there is a left turn ahead.  The course is not marked on the road itself, but there are plenty of yellow signs sticking up, warning drivers about the race.  I see a left turn and no marker ahead, but the road says "dead end" so that can not be my turn.  I hesitate a little and look back.  First woman is maybe 25 feet back.  I go straight and soon see a yellow sign, then the real turn.

Mile 1.5 - Getting warm.  Aid station. I drink a little and splash a little on my head.  Look back and I have extended my lead but not by much.  Hot in the sun, cooler in the shade.  Steady pace, but it is harder in the sun and a nice relief in the shade.  Last year's new chip seal road is much more runnable this year.

Mile 3 - I look at my watch just at it clicks to 3 miles and see that I ran that mile in 7:45.  My overall pace is 7:54, so that was my fastest mile so far I think.  I am hot, but if I can hold this pace I should be able to win.  Now the second aid station.  Cup of very cold water.  I tell the volunteer "thanks, that was great".  She says "that is Karang (?) water".  "Oh that's so good" I say.  She replies "Do you know what that is?  Do you want to hear about it?"  I am already 30 feet past her and trying to win a race so I shout something about not having the time right now, sort of in a hurry.  Later I will try to look it up, but I don't think that I remember the name correctly.  I do peek back and see that my lead is extended and fairly comfortable.

Mile 5 - The wheels start to come off.  Legs stiffen a little.  New chip seal here.  Frightened that I will really fall apart.  I really want to know how far my lead is.  But looking back is a sign of weakness and fear.  But I am weak and scared so I might as well look back.  I do and see that I am still comfortably in front, confident now that I will win.  Soon the big smoke stack comes into view and it does not look so far to the finish line.  Down Main Street where people are starting to gather for the parade.  No one cheers for me though.  Then the last turn to the finish where a small crowd waits and cheers me in.

Finish (mile 6.2?) - But my GPS reads 5.79 miles.  First woman comes in less than a minute later and says that the course is short and she keeps running to get in an even six miles.  Second place woman finishes and her watch reads 5.76 miles.  We each get a cold bottle of water and medal and recount our adventure.  None of us, nor the RD can figure out why the course is reading short.  Maybe because I was exhausted from running so hard, but the simple answer comes to me a few hours later.  By turning right instead of left at the start, we never covered the short bit of main road from the quiet street to the finish line.  In previous years we would do that at the start of the race and then again as we approached the finish line.  So my finish time looks very fast, but really I am happy with the pace I ran and of course to get the victory.  Then I realize that I was the only male out there, so in addition to first overall and first male, I was also last male runner. 


46:27
1st place of 7
Race#421, Bear run 10K #5
*****

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7/4/17 Steilcoom 4 on the 4th

My tenth time here!  Off and on since 2000.  My last race here was in 2014 and I remember being a little unhappy with my finish time.  But it is a quality event steeped in tradition.  Back from England yesterday afternoon, the jet lag had me in bed early but also up before the alarm and feeling well rested.  I know to get there early, so I can get a good parking spot, with easy exit after the fair is all set up and in progress.  Great DOR at $20 with chip timing by Terry Fritz and crew.

Sunny and warm.  Beautiful views across Puget Sound, to the snow capped Olympics.  1.6 mile warm up finishing with strides at a decent speed.  No injuries to report.  Very little running in the past 10 days, but lots of walking around England.  No speed work in, so little expectations to be fast.

Start - Nice to see Wayne.  No other friends here though.  But it is a very good turn out, with lots of families and young runners.  National Anthem and we are off.  Crowded.  Three groups pushing kids in wheel chairs which is great, but do they need to start right in the front?  I will beat at least two of them by a long way. One guy standing still fiddling with his watch.  Some of the kids and young adults are not patient and are zigging and zagging in a dangerous way.  Close calls but no tripping.  By a tenth of a mile there is room to run and everything settles down.

Mile 1- 7:21 - Zoomed down the big hill and now it will be flat.  Keep the yellow lines to my left but try to run the tangents as much as possible.

Mile 2 - 7:38 overall pace.  Staying even with most runners but passing the small kids who went out too fast.  Take water and splash more on myself than goes in my mouth.  Trying to focus on keeping up the pace.  Mostly it is my breath more than my legs.  I can put on very small surges, but they don't last.  Running so that I will have no regrets that I did not try hard enough.  This is tough.

Mile 3 - Along the water.  Bald Eagle flies across the road and lands in a tree just ahead of me.  So fitting for the 4th of July.  Back to race focus and then the uphill to the end.  Confident that I will beat an 8/mile pace, I relax just a little.  A couple of runners pass me, but none look like they are in my age group so I do not freak out.  Can't help but slow on the hill.  Give it a good effort to the finish.

Finish - 4.04 on the GPS.  A little nauseous, it takes a few minutes to recover.  Then with this great timing service I can get my result and third place in age group ribbon.  Happy to see that I finished 9 seconds faster than three years ago.

Don't stay long, but really happy that I raced today.

31:15
77th of 341
Race#420, 4 on the 4th #10
*****

Sunday, June 18, 2017

6/18/17 Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon

After a four year break, I am back.  Got a great deal a while ago and I really want to fill a spot on my wall of race bibs at work.

New start, at Husky Stadium, so it is point to point and stadium to stadium, though we never actually get inside either stadium.  Stay with Jared so it is an easy walk to the University Street Light Rail station in the morning and a short train ride right to the start line.  Except the trains are packed!  I squeeze on OK, but at the next stop only a couple of people can fit on and hundreds are left waiting for the next train.

Nice to see Deb and Betsy, but then I am on my own in corral 10. It is cloudy and humid but not too warm.  I am comfortable in short sleeves.  It will stay cloudy and nice the whole way.









Start - With all the crowds I somehow end up in corral 11, so at about 6:41 we set out.  So many people, about 11,000 in the half and 2,500 in the full.

Mile 1 - 9:41 - Happy with the time, but it does not feel so easy.  I feel stiff and not warmed up, the running is just not at smooth as it should be.  Watching people zig zagging around.  I also pass quite a few, but try to conserve energy and wait for an opportunity.

Mile 6 - Right on that 9:41 pace still.  Feeling better.  We go under I-90 and the there is a band playing and then a huge archway for Alaska Airlines.  I have my phone since it fits in my handheld water bottle so I slow to take a picture.  Before I snap the shot, a kind runner hands me my driver's license that fell out of the phone/bottle pouch.  I had the license just in case I have to wait at the finish for Jody and want the free beer.  So grateful she saw it and I got it back before I knew it had been dropped.  I decide to not take out my phone again






Now a super long row of "Wear Blue to Remember" folks holding large American flags.  It is picture worthy, but I am not going to do it.  Probably a half mile of flags.  Now the the fast runners coming back from the lap around Seward Park.  Amanda, Roger, Pedro, all looking strong.

Mile 10 - Halfway around the park myself and still a very steady 9:41.  Comfortable.  Introduce myself to a Double Agent and we run together for a bit.

Mile 12.5 - Steep uphill after the park and a strategic walk break.  A 10/mile finish would be great, so I might as well ease up when I feel like it, hopefully letting me continue on in good shape later in the race.  We merged with the half runners who are 4 miles behind us at this point.  Actually we have our own lane, but many of them are on my side now and there is lots of walking.  But we have the whole wide road, so it is not bad.  Quick potty break which gets me closer to an average of 9:51 pace after that and the previous hill.

Mile 15 - Long uneventful way on Rainier ave. 

Mile 18 - Close to the finish line.  Some half people walking around with finisher medals.  Full course goes around and now the long out and back on the Alaska Way Viaduct.

Catch up to Super Sabrina who is running her 200th marathon today.

Tiring on the uphill ramps, pace is slowing.

Mile 20 - Fun to see the fast people coming back.  They are almost done.  Amanda, Roger, Pedro.  Meanwhile I have a long straight slog to Ballard and back.  The Battery Tunnel is fun and I pick up the pace while I can hear the "Run to the Hills" song blaring.  But out of the tunnel is a long gradual uphill and I resort to walk breaks.  I am in good shape to beat 4:30 and I will spend the rest of the race making sure that I do so, with the least amount of effort as possible.  GPS is about two tenths off so I need to factor that into the math.

Mile 23 - So glad to reach that final turn around.  Super S not far behind.  Then I see Emilie and Vickie!  Yay!

Mile 24 - So enjoy the downhill to the tunnel.  Momentum keeps me running all the way through it though I am not going very fast.  The sounds are crazy, almost psychedelic what with my mental state at this point.

Mile 25 -  Reach the mile marker with 4:15 on my watch.  So I am still confident of a sub 4:30 but do not have time to waste.  Down the ramp, I can see the finish line, but they make us go out a little farther than I expected before the turn.  High five a couple of kids and then wave to Jody who is yelling for me.  Don't feel like going all out but I pick it up some with all the spectators.  Glad to be done with no pains or really rough patches.





Mile 26.2 - 26.4 on the GPS.  Could I have gone faster?  Yes, I did not push it.  Seeing a couple of runners getting medical aid on the course is sobering.  But I also feel like in the last 6 miles I kept trying to conserve energy.  I never stepped it up or pushed hard, for fear of really hitting the wall and having miles left.  I am a long way off from my sub 4 hour days, and this was not even as fast as Tacoma this year, but I think I ran well and it was relatively easy.  Especially since I did that trail 50K just two weeks ago.  Now a break for a little while.  Next race I am registered for is not until July 15.


4:27:19
1007th of 2450
Race#419, marathon or ultra#156, RnR Seattle#5
*****

Monday, June 5, 2017

6/3/17 Millersylvania Trail Race 50K

Ah, Millersylvania State Park.  Home to so many old racing memories.  Four 5Ks in 4 months, the last one being my only sub 20 minute 5K.  Club Oly trail 5K where I wore toe shoes.  The "odd distance run" where I came in first place out of two. And the notorious Holiday Marathons, including my only DNF due to mild hypothermia.  Other than the short Club Oly races these all started in the park and went right out onto the unsafe roads.  Finally a long race on the cushy beautiful trails inside the park.

Race is put on by James of Rainshadow Running fame, but is not as brutal a course as he usually does. This one is a fundraiser with all the proceeds going to the Interfaith Works Emergency Shelter, so I feel good about my $60 race entry, which is still cheap for long races these days.  They did a 10K last year here, and added a 30K and 50K for this year.  50K will be five loops of the 10K course.  While the trails are great for running, the park is small for an ultra and it will be a crazy route just to get in 6 miles for a loop.

Over 100 in the shorter races but only 13 starters in the 50K.  Nice to see a few friends at the start.  For the ultra the Rogue Wave is here with her Dad.  I don't know anyone else. So many racing options today, I hope I picked a good one, rather than repeating a race I have done before.

Cloudy and cool.  Will warm up but stay very nice to run in short sleeves. 

Loop 1 - 59 minutes - Too fast.  Big crowd and not much room to pass early on.  I ran a practice loop here a few weeks ago and had some trouble with the route. So RW and I figure we should run the first loop together and we do. Trail brush has been cut back and there are only two muddy spots.  Most of the trails are barely wide enough for two, but with all the turns and other runners we would be elbowing each other, so I mostly stay behind her.  Catch up and run next to her on the road and wide bits.   Nice to run with her as usual and extra fun because this is where we met many years ago.  With the course well marked we have no trouble (though later I will see runners in strange places off course) and cruise into the first lap complete and well, just knowing it was faster than I should have gone out.






Loop 2 - 1:04 - RW takes a break and I continue on.  A little slower hoping she will catch back up.  I gain on and run behind two chatting women who are doing the 30K.  Hard decision on whether to pass them or not, I do like the pace.  I end up passing on the gravel road hill part, but then they pass me back. 

Loop 3 - 1:11 - About halfway through I start to tire.  Stiffen up a little.  Hit the wall as it were, but not so bad.  Start having some negative thoughts.  I could be home,  drinking coffee and relaxing.  Five loops is mentally tough.  Don't really want to do another two, but what am I going to do drop out?  Nothing hurts so I keep moving.  Short walk breaks and lots of slow running on the easy parts.  At the very end of the loop the RW catches me and I ask what took so long.  Apparently she is feeling about the same as I am and we head out together.

Loop 4 - 1:15 - Rough patches come and go.  Need to run my own race.  Run well when I can and walk when I want to.  RW gets ahead, then I catch back up.  We are in the same boat for sure, struggling but persisting.  Drinking a lot of water but feeling dehydrated.

Loop 5 -1:15 -  Happy to be on the last loop.  I will not have to cross this road again, I will not have to climb this bump again.  I will not have to think of the song "get into the groove" when I reach that rutted spot.  RW is behind me and I consider stopping at the fitness station to do a pull up when she comes by, but just don't have it in me.  As I slow, I really expect her to pass me and beat me by ten minutes or so.  But as the loop progresses, I think we might finish together.  Happy that nothing hurts, everything is just tired.  About a mile and a half to go and at the top of the last hill, with a down tree to climb over, I look back and see RW probably 30 seconds behind me.  Now the nice downhill and I take it real easy.  Slow some more, looking back but she is not there. My new plan is to let her catch me and ask if we can just cross the finish line together.  Over the mud and onto the boardwalk.  Walking but she is not there.  Out to the final bit, one look back and still do not see her.  What I don't know at the time is that she took a face time chat with her baby and slowed as much as I did.  Oh well I make the final push to the finish and......

Finish - With about ten steps to go RW has somehow caught up and since we often think alike, she is saying "lets cross together".  So we are done.  It is a low key event, no medal or anything.  But as the volunteers pretty much ignore me, they shower RW with first place woman awards.  Artwork and a nice bag filled with goodies.  Good for her!  I am happy enough with my own finish time and no real pains.  I would like to run this one again.  28.9 miles on the GPS.  Each loop came in short, but I will not complain.


5:44:15
9th of 12 finishers
Race#418, Marathon or Ultra#155
*****

Sunday, May 21, 2017

5/21/17 Capital City Marathon


Another year at my big home town race.  I have organized the pace team again and am proud of the great runners I have assembled.  Less confident of my own abilities, I will pace the first half at 4:30 and try to hold on, but have Todd to meet me halfway and take over if I falter.  Pacer meeting the day before.  Photo op with Jeff Galloway before the start.  All of my pacers show up and will do their parts to perfection.

















Bright sun and comfortable at the start.  It is really going to warm up later in the race.  Just before the start, Tammy takes a picture of me and Dan and also Tami who I am just meeting.  She ran her first marathon in 4:40 and hopes to beat that today.  Lets see how long she can stay with me.






Start - So glad the stress of getting everything ready is over.  Got my GPS connected and it did not time out before the gun, so I will have accurate time on my wrist.  10:17/mile gets us in on time.  I plan to go out a little faster than that.

One of the pleasures of this race is the sighting of so many friends whether in the race, volunteering or spectating.  Bill at mile 1, Terra at mile 2, Rachel and Craig at mile 10.  The second half pacer transport honking to us on their way out.

Mile 3 - Priest Point Park overpass.  Picture of me and my pack of runners.  Claudia is in there and sent me the picture.  She will go on ahead and run well today. Tami is with us.  Next to me are Vicki and Emillie who I met at the Blooms to Brews.  Great to run with them again.



















Mile 5 - Warming up.  First splash of water on my head.  Averaging 10:07/mile which has us with over a minute in the bank.  No need to go any faster.  Aid stations every even mile marker.

Mile 12.5 - Its been uneventful.  Getting warmer.  Holding a steady pace.  Now I meet Todd and we run together.  Great to have someone new, who has the energy to talk. Down to sea level then up the steep hill by Woodard Bay.

Mile 15 - Long straight road back to town.  Feeling the heat and I am tiring.  Have to work a bit to hold pace.  Long stretch in the hot sun.  I can feel the heat radiating off the road.  Not communicating much with what is left of my pack.

Mile 18 - Still on pace but having serious doubts.  No pains, just too hot to run.  Did I mention how this is the first warm day all season.  I am not used to the temperature.  And it is mile 18.  But now it is just 2+3+3 miles to the end.  Hope I can hold on.

Mile 21 - Rogue aid station I grab a delightful slice of orange and Todd slips away ahead of me.  I just do not feel like surging to catch up.  Still we are ahead of schedule, so I keep running and the distance between us is close, just gradually getting longer.

Mile 22.5 - Up Eastside Hill.  Walk breaks.  Todd out of reach.  So glad that he is here to complete the mission.  Tami with him.  I pull out my PR pin and pop my balloon in shame.  Singlet comes off and I feel so much cooler with just one shirt on.  The difference in comfort gives me a boost and I keep trudging up the hill.

Mile 23.5 - Top of the hill, I catch up to a guy and I say that if we push we might beat 4:30.  He says that ship has sailed, it will not happen.  I hit a bad patch and slow again.  I know the next aid station is close, but I see spectators with a table and a water bottle and I beg water from them.  A woman digs out a cup and gets me some water which is really appreciated.  Keep working on my attitude and try to encourage others, despite being down with my own performance.

Mile 24.5 - The beer station, I take a very small cup as usual and like always it is so cold and refreshing.

Mile 25 - Catch up to Matt Ferrel, who paced the first half at 4:15 then slowed even more than me.  Misery loves company and we "run" the last mile together. 

Mile 26.2 - Finished!  Not emotional and not very satisfied with my time.  At about mile 20 I realized that I had not seen any runner in need of medical aid (often I do at this event) and I did not want to be the first one.  So maybe I could have run faster/harder at the end, but maybe I would have gotten heat stroke and not finished at all.  Today was hardly the time to push myself to my limits, so I will accept my result.

Find Jody who ran the half. Find Tami, meet her family and give her the PR pin!

So curious about my pace team.  I find Angela who did great.  We are talking but all I can do is admire the slice of watermelon she is holding.  I almost take it from her, but decide I should go get my own post race food.  Watermelon, orange slices, pizza and water.  Back to the finish line to see 4:45 and 5:00 pacers come in as well as Emillie and Vicki.  Then over to the beer tent for my free beer and I sit with Dan who I started the race with.

Gather up the pacer gear and call it a day.  Looking forward to next year!!


4:36:14
172nd of 300
Race#417
Marathon or ultra# 154
Capital City Marathon#14

Sunday, April 30, 2017

4/30/17 Tacoma City Marathon

My 9th time here.  A few course changes.  Fewer old Maniac friends.  I have been thinking that this might be my last time here.  Packet pickup is a hassle, so early to get to the start, high price unless you register very early which I did, now it is the same weekend as Capitol Peak.  CP is now 50 miles or 25K so not the marathon or 50K that I prefer, but still the trails I love.  Jody was doing her own running on Saturday and now I will be gone on Sunday so it is almost a lost weekend for us.  But I am here now, I might as well enjoy it.

Except it is so darn cold again.  Bus drops me off just before 6AM so I have an hour to shiver in the cold and wind.  Got to find a place out of the wind.  Some runners are huddling just behind the port-o-potties, yuck.  I venture off to a building.  There are two other running hobos there next to the dumpster, across the broken glass, scrounging for some place to sit.  I find a small but sturdy plastic cart on its side and can sit on it with back support on the wall.  Pretend to chase away other shelter seekers, I tell them that this area is for elite athletes only.  Hunkered down and shivering despite the hat, light jacket and long pants.  Feel sorry for those in shorts and short sleeves.  It can't be that cold but I feel like it is zapping my energy.

6:30 head over to the main area and find the Rogue Wave.  We wait till the last minute to drop our gear bags, then find a patch of rising sun to stand in.  Just before the start a bald eagle lands on the ground, not far at all from some people.  And it stays there as our race starts.

Start - RW and I head out together.  We have a plan to keep it just under 10 minute miles and hope to not slow too much, ending under 4:30.  Fun to be at the same level as her and it has been a year since we have run together!  Out of the airport and left instead of the out and back to the right.  First of many course changes.  Maybe I should have studied the map a little better, but I doubt we will take a wrong turn.  So many volunteers to direct the way.

Mile 2 - Beautiful but windy morning on the Narrows Bridge.  Strong side winds.  By the time we are 2/3rd of the way across we are both ready to be done with it.  Now the long uphill and the first aid station not until mile 4.  From here on the aid will be closer together and I will be fine without carrying water.

Mile 10 - Tour of North Tacoma. Nice quiet neighborhoods mostly.  Hills but keeping the average pace at about 9:42/mile.  This is the fastest I have gone out in a marathon in ages.  Hope I can hold it.  Hip and groin feel pulled on.  Hope it does not get worse.  Meanwhile it is sunny and cool, but very comfortable for running.

Mile 13.1 - 2:07 something on the clock.  I can do a 2:20 second half and still beat 4:30 easy.  RW needs a quick break, but there is a short line.  I keep walking, then run a slow pace.  I could wait for her, but I don't know how long she will be, plus I fear that I may get real tired and slow at any point, just to see her go on ahead. 

Mile 14.5 - A little surprised when she calls to me on the steepest part of the uphill before Point Defiance Park.  Great time to walk and let her catch up.  Now we enter the park and some confusion as we are told to go right, but here comes speedy Robert Bondurant towards us from the left.  Oh he is 5 miles ahead of us and finishing the long loop that overlaps for a short distance.  Soon we are directed left and onto 5 mile drive, after some constructions side route, grass and mud.

Mile 17 - Going counter clock wise through the park (different from previous years) means the long twisting hill.  Pace is slowing.  Approaching the famous Blues Brothers aid station.  Suddenly I feel a little dizzy and it is not easy to run.  Somewhat scared, I walk it into the aid station.  Take off my sunglasses and focus on overcoming the situation.  It passes very quickly and I am soon back on pace.

Mile 18 - Ravens calling.  Now just like on the bridge, this is a spectacular place to run, but I am ready to move on.  Out of the park it will be a mostly straight shot along Ruston Way to the end and it will be nice when we hit mile 20.

Mile 20 - Nice to be here.  Legs are tired but no pains.  Upper legs and hip have not gotten any worse.  New course goes left then onto the very start of the Point Ruston walkway.  Wide curving path.  A little breeze in my face at times and some warm pockets of air, but not bad at all.  Three miles right along the water on a pleasant morning.  People and dogs out walking, but not so crowded.

Mile 21 - RW has her music in and picks up the pace some.  I do not try to keep up.  I have a nice slow groove going, with very short walk breaks and just don't feel a need to push it.

Mile 22 - I do catch a young guy and he says yes when I guess that this is his first marathon.  He is in good spirits and I don't chat him up too much.  But we run step in step for about a mile before I pull ahead.

Mile 23 - Super Sabrina sighting.  Alone, spectating, like she has been banished from the event.  My 4:30 buddy from Blooms to Brews.  We will run together soon I hope.  Now the big hump on Ruston Way.  I run the whole thing and only slow at the water station at the bottom.

Mile 25 - 4:13 on the clock ensures a sub 4:30 finish.  No desire to push it.  I am running, just slowly.  Plenty of runners around, we are getting excited for the finish.  Grinding metal sound as we are next to a slow moving train.  So slow that I am running faster than it.  Up and over the tracks and the final stretch.

Mile 26 - Oh darn it, one more hill.  Up and around to the final turn and pick it up for a nice looking finish.

Mile 26.2 - Immediate recovery is much better than at Blooms to Brews where I worked so hard at the end.  Happy enough with my time.  And the event was really great as always.  Really tempting to come back again next year.  I should at least do an even ten times here.

4:25:26
151st of 298
Race#416 Marathon or Ultra#153 Tacoma City Marathon#9
***** 




Monday, April 24, 2017

4/22/17 Traveler 5.5K

When the snow starts to melt in the Olympics an image appears of the Traveler, and maybe his dog.




The best view is from Alderbrook in Union, so the town puts on a Traveler Days weekend.  Last year there was a 5K that I missed.  But today I am here for the very rare 5.5K event.  I am guessing that last year the course was a little long and to be fair, they have called it 5.5K for this year.  Registered and got my number and goody bag last night.  Family friend Shannon was there to help and will be out on the course today.  Registering in person was cheaper than through the website.  With the fees saved, I could not resist paying an extra $12 for the shirt. Pre shirt it was $39, pricey for a short race.  But chip timed, great swag bag including a poncho, and proceeds to Kirk and Friends charity and the local Fire Department.




Start time at 11AM?  Yes it is.  At the Alderbrook clubhouse.  And about 4 miles from our cabin on the Hood Canal.  The location was a big draw for me. I have run on these roads before but not very often.   So I sleep in, have a nice breakfast and leave home after 10AM.  I thought about running to the start but the 500 foot hill would probably not be a great way to warm up. 


Volunteer directs me to a parking spot, right between the start/finish and the community fair.  Local groups with booths set up.  I get in a decent warm up.  Too bad it is raining.  Traveler is not out.  Many folks are wearing their new ponchos.  I decide to just get wet.




Start - Assess the competition.  I looked at last years results and am pretty sure I would have been in the top ten.  Mostly walkers, a couple of fast looking kids and a few runner types.  RD gives directions ( I did study the map that was posted online, but there will be lots of turns) and says to look for the signs on the right side of the road with arrows.  A little crowded but I am almost at the front and we soon have the whole road to run on.




Mile 0.10 - Road curves to the right and then up a steep hill.  Guy in a Mariners shirt is already way ahead of everyone else.  Amazing how he gets up that hill and is gone.  I try to count and am in maybe 8th place.  Pass one on the hill but also get passed.

Mile 0.5 - Around and down the hill, out to a short lollipop section.  Wonder why they did not just cut off the lollipop and call it a 5K.  Road has lots of curves.  I try to run the tangents.  Watching a kid ahead of me to see if there are turns ahead.  Some are staying on the right side of the road, but there is no traffic and there will be left turns so I might as well run the shortest route.  Pass one kid and the front woman.

Mile 2 - It has been a long well deserved downhill after more ups.  Feeling good and picking up the pace.  It wavers between 7:35 and 7:55 depending on whether I have just come up or down.  Road does not have potholes, but it is cambered and there are little dips and spots to watch for.  Most steps I am wondering what my feet will do and how they will adjust.  Not smooth running, especially with the little hills.  But this long downhill has been awesome.  Sharp turn and OMG a steep long uphill.  Such a good time spoiler.  Trudge up and I can hear a guy talking to first woman behind me, not struggling like I am.  He passes me on the hill and encourages me.  Then the woman catches up.  I recognize the guy, he was the one giving directions at the start.  Run with first place woman for a bit, trying to not let her get ahead.

Mile 2.5 - Ahead of first place woman, now with the guy who has slowed a bit.  He clearly could be going faster.  It has not clicked in my mind yet that he is the race director and not so interested in a fast finish time.  His focus seems to be on getting me a fast time.  Gaining a little on a 13 year old ahead of us, the RD wants me to make a run for it.  In the mean time, I am just trying to hang on.

Mile 3 - Give the best surge that I have and it is not enough.  Clear that the kid will beat me.  I tell the RD to go for it and pass the kid.  He finally leaves me and goes forward.  I am happy to hold my place and not let the first woman catch me.

3.5 - 3.50 on the GPS, sprint to the end feeling good with the effort and my place.  Walk over to the timing van and get an immediate print out that lists me as 4th overall and first in my division.  It has my pace at 8:02 per mile, but my watch reads 7:49.








My brother in law is here with his food truck, so I go say hi to him and get a plate of truck fries.  Then a few minutes later I see the guy with the Mariners shirt, who went out so fast.  There were two kids ahead of me, plus Jeff the RD.  That is what put me at 4th.  What happened to this guy?  I ask him if he did start with us and go out fast.  Yes and later on he went straight and missed a turn adding about 2 miles to his race.  So sad, he came in after me.  The RD thought that he was finishing in 4th, he did not want to take a prize from the top 3.  When he found out that the super fast guy was not ahead of us, he insists that I take the 3rd place prize.  I do not argue and come home with a nice gift basket from the Cameo shop that included peanut brittle and a port wine chocolate sauce.

The rain has stopped so I stick around for a little while.  Definitely plan to come back next year.


27:24
4th place of 90
Race#415, 5.5K#1
*****




Monday, April 10, 2017

4/9/17 Blooms to Brews Marathon

 


First time here at this 3rd annual event. Jody and I drove to Woodland WA the afternoon before, so I could save 90 minutes of driving in the morning and not pay $20 for day of race packet pick up.  Hotel is nice, but sure does not save us money.  Expo was very small and we were out of there in just a few minutes.  Morning of, I get up in plenty of time and it is an easy less than a mile walk to the start, so Jody can have the car and pick me up at the finish.

Weather is cool and cloudy, not as windy as it had been.  Course is super flat.  Skagit flat.  It is scenic, but does not change much at all.  Farmland and river views.  The tulips are not blooming yet and most of the fields look to me like they are growing crab grass.

Intend to stay with the 4:30 pacer and hopefully pick it up in the second half.  I ran 4:26 at Cupcake with the second half much slower and a solo effort.  This is the largest marathon I have run in some time and will have company just about the whole way.  I intend to give it a good effort.  But since the marathon two weeks ago, my running has been blah with travel interruptions.  Hip discomfort lasted a few days and I am worried that it will flare up some miles into today.  I carry ibuprofen just in case and will walk it in if needed.

Start - Super Pacers are here and I get Super Sabrina as my 4:30 workhorse.  Prayer, National Anthem and then we are off.  Wide road parallel I-5 then over to the warehouses and meat packing plant.  Then the country roads and fields.

Mile 2- Nice little group at 4:30.  One woman will carry her phone in one hand and car keys in the other the whole way, because that is what she did in training.  She and friend from SF are running their first marathon.  Half marathon started ten minutes ago and eventually the front runners pass us.

Mile 5 - Chatting with Sabrina.  It was one year ago that she paced 4:30 at Whidbey and I stayed with her till mile 20, then moved forward for a solid finish.  Same plan today.  Long out and back here.  Surprise Tracy Marshall sighting, going so speedy!  Then Marie pacing 5:00 after we turn around.

Mile 13.1 - Really uneventful run and course.  So flat.  I get to hold the pacer pole while Sabrina takes a break.  Just like at Whidbey.  We reach the half in 2:13:30, so are a little ahead of schedule.

Mile 14 - I decide to ease on ahead a little faster, not knowing that I will regret that a later.  Pick up the pace.  Jody is at an aid station.  I try to untie the jacket around my waist but it is knotted so tight I end up slipping it down my legs to get it off.  It takes so long, that Sabrina almost catches me.  But off I go, a little lighter.

Mile 16 - A 6 mile loop.  Past a heron rookery that Jody also saw and photographed.  Gradually passing people, trying to run just under 10 minute miles.  Feeling good and mile 17 goes by in 9:32.

Mile 20 - Back on the course overlap part.  Run with a mother and daughter who will be at CCM and the Trials Legacy in Oly later this year.  Animal cookies at the aid station do not go well with gatorade that is so concentrated there are solid slushy sugar bits at the bottom.  But my stomach feels ok otherwise.

Mile 21 - Jody again at this part of the loop.  Now out onto a gravel road and it all falls apart.

Mile 23 - Tight and tired legs.  Short walk breaks start up.  The gravel road has big potholes and the wind picks up and is blowing in my face.  Pace has slowed a lot and I start to fear Sabrina.  Mile 23 marker is a tenth longer than the GPS taking away a minute I had in the bank.  I shuffle up to two walkers and complain that it is getting hard.  The woman says "it is a marathon, its supposed to be hard"  I like that line and it encourages me.  On to pavement but still into the wind for a short out and back.

Mile 24 - Now heading with the wind and it is easier but still horrible.  Saw Sabrina on the out and back and she is struggling and tried to hand me the pacer pole.  I declined with fear that I will not make 4:30 now ( I regret not taking it from her).  Discouraging but what can I do.  Just keep at it.  Now the advertised run through the flowers, but really it is on the road past a tulip farm.  A few blooms in the distance, but nothing I would name a race after.

Mile 25 - Passing me is SF woman.  Finishing so strong in her first marathon and now encouraging me.  I do get a bit of energy and am able to keep running.  Sure going to be close to 4:30.  But nothing really hurts.  The hip is doing great so I am thankful.

Mile 26 - 4:27:52 on the watch.  So a 10/mile will just get me in if it is 0.2 to go.  Looks really far.  Try to go faster.  Make the last turn and think I just might make it, but I have to sprint.

Finish - Mile 26.2 - 26.40 on the GPS.  turn off my watch at 4:29:58 but my chip time will come in at 4:29:54.  So I guess that I am all set to pace 4:30 in May :)

Recovery right after the race is tough.  Stomach hurts and I feel like sitting down.  Much harder second half and feeling than at Cupcake two weeks ago.  But there I ran a slower second half and certainly did not sprint like that at the end.  Really happy to have Jody to drive us home.

Nice little event.  But April has been my month to always try a new race, so I may not come back for a while.








4:29:54
109th place of 190
Race#414, marathon or ultra#152
****

Monday, March 27, 2017

3/26/17 Cupcake Fun Run Marathon

My first time here.  Tory has put on this race for a few years now and I am happy to finally be here.  Each year she selects a local family with needs and the race is a fundraiser for them.  This year we will support a family of a young girl with cancer.  In this age of $100 plus entry fees that are going to professional race directors it is so satisfying to have my proceeds go to a worthy cause.  Thank you Tory and Jacqui!  I think I paid $35 plus a small added donation.  And there will be all the cupcakes I can eat at the finish line.

The race starts at the Armar trail head to the Centennial Trail in Arlington/Marysville.  North of Seattle I leave home at 5AM to make sure I find the place and make the 8AM start.  Its not far off the highway and easy to find, I get there in 2 hours and have plenty of time to get ready.  It is going to rain at some point, but not at the start.  I will wear a jacket and hat and even gloves for the first couple of miles, but really it is not bad weather.

Goal is to run my own race today and beat 4:30.  Three of my last 4 marathons I have run with slower folks and enjoyed the company more than running for time.  Nothing wrong with that, but I really should see where I am at physically.

Smaller group than I expected.  There was the Dizzy Daze yesterday and Badger Mountain and the Dash Point Half, but still I expected more people.  There is Scott S, so I don't have to worry about possibly winning.  50K too, with only 3, all women.  A little tempting to upgrade to that so I can be first male, but not worth the five extra miles.  Dan counts 15 runners at the start of the marathon and 50K, so only 12 in the marathon.  The half will start thirty minutes later and be a larger race.

Course is 13.1 miles southish  on the wide paved trail and then turn around.  Very few road crossings and there will be no getting lost or confused.

Start to mile 5 - Tory gets us going and we head onto the trail.  Run with Dan for a bit, then slow a little and stay behind him.  Long very gradual uphill.  I had been expecting flat farmland like at Wooley, so I am surprised at the incline.  It goes on for a long way but is not steep.  Should be nice coming back.  Light rain now, but no wind.  Hummingbird sighting.  Then a Great Blue Heron high up in a snag.  Course goes over a few creeks and also across some wetlands.  Lots of skunk cabbage in bloom.  I should have carried a camera, this is a very scenic route.  Even pacing, trying to keep it just under 10 minutes per mile.  Catch up to Dan, the pass him.  Here is the only road crossing where we have to stop.  Push the button and wait for a walk signal.  5 mile aid station is on the other side of the crossing.  Light rain stops.

Mile 5-13.1 - Reconnect with Dan after the aid station and we run together to the turn around.  Very even pace of about 9:52 per mile.  Nice company and the miles fly by.  Aid station at mile 10 and at about mile 10.5 I realize that I am on the part of the trail that is the course for the 6 hour Invest in Youth run.  So I have been here twice before but not for three years now.  Aid station at the Machias Trail Head and I hope this is the turn around, but we are told to keep going to the stop sign and then come back.  It is another half mile.  My GPS reads 12.9 something, but Dan's is right on.  We touch the stop sign and head back.  A little drizzle but it will stop soon.  2:08 on the watch.  We both know that we will not run that fast on the way back.  I suggest a goal of a 2:20 second half.

Mile 13.1 to mile 21 - Average pace is about 9:53 and I would like to hold that for at least 5 more miles.  Dan starts to struggle though and I leave him behind.  Later when I tire, I will admit to looking back and I will see him at times.  But he will not catch me, though I will only beat him by about two minutes.  In the mean time I peel off some nice miles.  Miles 15,16 and 17 are all sub ten minutes each, with one of them being a blazing 9:44.  Pass a woman who I thought was in the race, but she is just out for a 20 mile training run.  We encourage each other and I slowly move ahead.  Slight uphills now.  Pace is steady but a little slower.  If I can make it to the aid station at a 10/mile average I should be in good shape for a sub 4:30.  Pull in to the aid station with a 9:59 pace.

Mile 21-26.2 - I was quick at filling my water bottle, but then I have to wait a little for the traffic light.  Cross the road and now I am at a 10:02 overall pace.  Not what I wanted but still feeling like I can run and I know that there are gentle downhills soon.  I am able to run slowly for long stretches and I walk just to drink or take a Cliff block.  Right hip is nagging a little.  Twice I have to walk suddenly because something goes wrong in my left hip.  It works itself out with just a few steps.  I calculate that I can do 12/mile and beat 4:30 and that should be no problem.  Run slowly for long segments of 0.7 and 0.5 miles without even looking at my watch.  Forward progress is good and I do not push myself too hard either.  A little fear that Dan or someone else will catch me, but other than that, not much motivation.  Keep plugging away and soon the finish line is in sight.

Mile 26.2 - Very happy with my pacing and endurance, considering I only had one long run of 12.6 miles (the 20K last week) in the past 4 weeks.  Right hip will be a little sore but everything else feels great considering, so I am looking forward to another marathon in two weeks.  Finish time is not that fast, but is something of a confidence booster.

Tory gives me a cool medal and a ribbon for third place male.  She says that two women beat the first man.  Plenty of cupcakes left and they are terrific.   Later, the results on Webscorer and just not right.  The official results have me at 9 minutes faster than I was, plus has a couple of people who probably were half runners mixed in there.  Not a big deal for me, I piece together my results as best I can and it does not matter.  Really nice event that I hope to return to.

4:26:02
5th place of 12?
Race#413
Marathon or Ultra # 151
*****

Saturday, March 18, 2017

3/18/17 Resolution Run 20K

This was not on my schedule, but Jody is running with Nicky this morning and I would like at least 10 miles, to get over 40 for the week.  Easy to go up to Steilacoom for the 9AM start of this small race.  $30 DOR.  Sadly they are not doing baked potatoes this year, but there will be coffee, muffins and bagels indoors after the race.

Rain and more rain.  Going to be a wet one.  Warm enough that I don't need the rain jacket, but I will wear it anyway.  And I don't plan to run fast, just a good tempo and hopefully a negative split.  Look back over my old results and realize that I have never run a 20K before.  I have done the 20 miler here a couple of times so I know the course, but I would have thought that I had done the shorter version at some point.

No warm up, I can ease into the first miles.  Plus it is dumping rain, so I wait inside as long as possible.

Start - Right on time and smooth around the track.  Not much wind at all, but lots of puddles and rain.

Mile 1 - 8:54 - Faster than I expected.  Nice group of soggy runners trying to work around any deep puddles or street creeks, trying to keep our feet dry as long as possible.

Mile 3 - 8:51 average pace.  Ease back just a little.  Gentle uphills.  Feeling good and I like the pace.

Mile 6.25 - Turn around and glad to be heading back.  8:53 average pace.  Start moving faster and gradually passing some people.

Mile 9 - Rain is letting up.  I take the hood off and charge down the hills.  Pass a couple more.  Working harder, but the average pace is only dropping a little.  Not running with anyone, just working to catch people and move along.

Mile 10 - One guy who might be in my age group has been far ahead, but I have been gaining on him.  Put on a burst and do pass him.  But now my legs start to stiffen and it just gets harder to run.  Form is bad and I am worried that he will pass me back.  I should protect my body, relax and cruise in easy, but I have not been passed by anyone in the second half and I don't intend to let that happen now.

Mile 12.5 (20K) - Fairly difficult struggle to the end, but I do finish with a negative split at 8:49 pace overall.  Not as easy as I had hoped and I expected to be a little faster.  Very quiet at the finish line, I cheer a couple of people in, then dry off and get my results.

Hardly a fun racing event, but better than a long solo run.

1:49:31
14th of 34
Race#412
***

Monday, March 13, 2017

3/12/17 Donut Dash 5K

The month of March is not going as planned.  After the DuPont Trail Marathon I was excited to run the Mountain Marathon last week.  But although DuPont went great and I held back some, the day after the race, my right hip felt like I had a pulled muscle.  Not so painful, but something to be wary of.  I rested.  Then I could run but it felt worse after that.  So more days off and on Friday I made the tough decision to not start the Mountain Marathon the next day.  I struggled with maybe running the half, but either way it is such a tough course and I did not want to be miles out there on the trail and then decide for sure that I should not finish.  So I moped around and rested all last weekend.  Gave up on my average of 40 miles a week so far this year.  By Wednesday of this past week though it was feeling much better.  On Friday I ran well and could feel nothing wrong. Too bad we were going up to White Pass for the weekend and I would not be racing.  But yesterday afternoon we decided to come back a night early and a Sunday morning 5K seemed like a great idea.

So it is $35 day of race entry but I do get a T-shirt.  And it is not raining!!  Low expectations for speed since I obviously have not done any fast work lately.  Club Oly race so lots of familiar faces both running and volunteering.  Well organized and the event goes smoothly.  I have raced this one before, but it has been a couple of years.

Two mile warm up and I feel as good as can be expected.  Mike wants me to pace him to 24 minutes.  Who knows?  

Start - Near the front on the wide road.  Go off OK and right into fast running.  Turn and watch out for the rail road tracks on the street.   No problem and off we go on the well marked, staffed and coned course.  AP sighting.

Mile 1 - 7:30 pace.  Now going gradually uphill.  Breathing is harder on me than the legs.  Trying to control my breathe but keep moving at this pace.  Legs feel surprisingly good.  We are on the Capital City Marathon course.  The Donut Dash T-shirt this year is the same color as the pacer balloons from the marathon and I can not help but think about the times I have paced the race at this spot.  Pacing I would be going about 2 and a half minutes per mile slower than this and it would be so much easier.

I am expecting this race to fly by, a 5K is so short.  But I can not see the turn around yet and the first place runners have not come past on their way back.  Then they do, and eventually I reach the turn around.  Try to take water but end up splashing my face more than drinking.

Mile 2 - 7:35 pace and I am so OK with that. Gentle downhill.  Following Grace from Club Oly, but can not catch her.  Running is hard but I feel great about my pace and nothing hurts.  Hold on as best I can, hoping to beat 24 minutes.

Mile 3.1 -  Really happy when I can see the finish line and know that I will make it.  Faster than my last two 5Ks!

I end up third out of ten in my age group and win a little bag with two gels and a blinking safety light.

23:49
36th of 318
Race#411
5K#109
*****

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2/25/17 DuPont Trail Marathon

Celebrating marathon number 150!  Second year of this event and my second time here.  Brought Jody this year to run the half.  Since the full and half start at the same time, we can run the half together, then I can go out for another out and back.  Small event less than 15 minutes from home, means we almost get to sleep in.

Cold but dry!  Trails are in good shape despite a lot of rain recently.  Foggy and no wind.  Great running conditions as long as I start off with plenty of layers.

Start - We get our numbers and it is not long before we need to line up.  Decent turn out of regular marathoners.  Fun for me to have them see these trails that I run on so often.  Jody and I start near the back and take our time easing into running.

Mile 0.6 - Have to wait here in a short line as people are picking their way around the one spot with water.  There is a log to step on and branches to hold on to and I barely keep my feet dry.  Back to running.

Across the flats to Grand Junction, wide trail for passing, under Center Drive, down the long gradual Sequalitchew Creek Trail and out to the beach.  Awful loose gravel on the beach, it is slow going and energy zapping.  Then back and up the steep switch backs.  Jody slowing.  But back to an easy pace on the flats and out to the aid station.




Mile 5.3 - Aid Station is well stocked and a nice landmark.  Now the upland trail that just keeps going.  Jody slowing and walking on the uphills.  I try to reel in my pace and stay with her.  When we hit flat areas it is not hard to do so.  Around and around and back to the aid station.

Along the bluff, down the switchbacks, course thankfully skips the beach on the way back, and up the long hill.  Jody and I meet a woman and we talk our way up the long climb.  The talk really helps us all pass the miles.  Now flat, then back over the pool.

Mile 12 - Past the start area and we have to loop around a bit before coming back.  Tough when you can see the finish.  Now I am watching the clock hoping that we can beat 3 hours.  I realize that I always set a new time goal late in the race and push myself to make it, but not everyone does that.  Jody can not quite understand why I want her to move faster.  Now the last bit on the narrow trail, that last year was hip deep water.  Dry this year if you stay on the edge and I keep looking at my watch and hoping we will beat 3.  Out onto the field and yes we will do it.





Mile 13.1 - (13.3 on the GPS) 2:58 on the clock.  Leave Jody with the car key and off I go for round 2.  Goal is to run a negative split.  I really should be able to do this in less than 2:58.  Should be fun to pass some people too.

Mile 14 - Pass Monte.  Deb and Rick sighting coming towards us.  Good steady running on the flats and down the hill.  Run all the way to the beach where I take it easy and eat something.  Fast walk up the steep hill and then I can run a steady pace for a long way.  Pass Jill and Sabrina and Matt G.  No wall, I just keep plugging away and feeling good. 



Mile 25 - Been wondering about beating 5:30, or running a sub 2:30 second half but I am not quite there.  When I realize that it will not happen, and when I remember that I have the Mountain Marathon next Saturday I stop pushing it but cruise into the finish at a decent effort.  Jody is there and I have to be happy with a 2:58/2:36 split.

26.66 miles on the GPS.  Well done event that I will come back to.

5:34:19
28th of 39 
Race#410
Marathon or Ultra #150
****