Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1/29/17 Seattle Locks Marathon

7th year of the event, but my first time here.  Also my first event with Steve Walters as race director.  It is free and low key, but very well done.  I give a small donation to help with costs and any extra is promised to charity.

Fun to run on new territory.  From Woodland Park down to the Burke Gillman trail, along the water to Puget Sound and a double out and back. I have not run sub 4:30 in a while so that is my goal.

But the course and the fellow runners will conspire against me.  The course has multiple street crossings with some very long waits for walk signs.  The trail is not complete, in many places we end up back on sidewalks and there are many more turns than I was expecting.  Steve has put orange arrows to mark the course, but there are many times where I hesitate or go just a little off track.  The fellow runners that I will be with are just too friendly and relaxed.  No one seems to be out for a fast finish and I will enjoy their company so much, that I stop caring about the watch.

Weather is cool but dry.  Jacket and a hat on and off.  The wind will blow and it will seem colder later in the race, but no rain!

Nice start/finish area at the park, but a quarter mile walk to the restrooms.  At least I get there plenty early and it is stress free getting parked and getting my number.  I watch a large group of early starters head out in the 7AM dark.  Now I have an hour to get myself ready.

Start - I get to run the first two miles with Allen George, my medical missionary friend from Peru (and Nebraska)  Easy to run under 10/mile as it is downhill and for the first street crossings the wait is not long.  Sidewalk, cracks and bumps to watch for.  I really want to keep it slower and Allen is faster than me these days, so after a while he heads on.

Mile 3 - Catch up with Tim Stensen and we run together for a while.  Now on the trail and along the water, but not quite what I had pictured.  The course has some cool things to see (the locks, a statue, birds in the ship canal, the Fremont Troll, shrubs shaped like dinosaurs) and some ugly stuff (trash filled homeless camp, broken up road with old rail road tracks to trip over, trash can to toss my empty gu pack?, nope that container is for used hypodermic syringes only, razor wire fences)

Mile 6 - I have gone ahead of Tim and now finally here are Mica and Tracy catching up to me.  We run to the turn around and then all the way back to the start/finish.  Nice conversation really makes the miles flow by.  They are both faster than me, but are in no hurry today.  Half marathon started an hour after us and now those runners are on the course.  Surprise Terra Perkins sighting, followed by a Martinho sighting.  Mica has an achilles issue and wants to walk the uphills.  The long uphill on Stone way is not so steep and we jog that one, but walk up the final short steep hill to the finish. 2:20 on the watch means that my 4:30 finish is in serous jeopardy.

Mile 13.1 - I don't want to linger at the turn around and Tracy and Mica seem to be taking their time, so I go on without them.  Down the hill and then the longest ever wait at the stop light.  Two crossings here that take FOREVER.  At least I get to see Marie and Deb and Margaret and Cat.  2:30 on the watch and all time goals out the window. I feel fine, but I just can't manage my pace on this course.  And I am not going to say no to a picture stop if someone wants that.

Mile 14 - Catch up with Terri.  We ran a few miles together at Pigtails last month.  She is still on her quest to get to marathon 100 by April and it is wearing her down.  We fall into a nice steady easy pace with some walk breaks and the time flies by.  I will end up staying with her for about 11 miles.

Mile 20 - The turn around point seems farther away.  By GPS the course will be long.  We are happy to finally reach it and start heading back......but into the cold wind.  Now there are more people out and on the sidewalks we have to dodge dogs and tricycles and people waiting to get into restaurants.  More cars on the road too.

Mile 23 - In a dodgy part and Terri finds a cell phone.  And it is on and not locked.  I am sure that a runner must have dropped it and we should just carry it to the finish line. We think about it and debate what to do and I don't really want to take the time to stop and call whoever left 9 recent calls to the phone.  It is also mile 23 and maybe I am not thinking so clearly.  Teri does carry it back and Steve will put it with the other one that someone else found.  I don't know if it made it back to its owner.  In the mean time I just want to finish.

Mile 24.5 - I make Terri go a few steps off course, so she can see the Troll, then she releases me to run up the long hill as she is going to walk.  It is going to be close to beat 5 hours.  A little tired but really feeling good for this many miles, I run halfway up the hill, still feel OK, and make a commitment to run the whole thing.  Not so difficult.  At the top I have to wait so long for the light.  Then it is around the ball field and up the steep hill.  4:57 on the watch and I started my watch a little late because of a GPS mishap.  I could be really close to 5 hours and I work hard to not let that happen.

Mile 26.2 - 26.7 on the GPS. Just under 5 hours

Although I was no where near my time goal, I am pleased with how things went physically.  Always so great to feel good late in a marathon.  No regrets about relaxing and staying with people today instead of chasing a time goal.  I would absolutely come back and run this one gain, but also not for time, but for fun and a good long run.

24th of 54
Marathon or ultra#149

Saturday, January 21, 2017

1/21/17 Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass 25K

So glad when word went out last week that the start/finish and course had been changed to a lower elevation due to the snow conditions up high.  I will miss going up to the peak, but I will not miss the scary drive in the dark to the Falls Creek campground.

Instead we meet at Margaret McKinney, just off a paved road and easy to get to.  And no rain this year.  Shorts!  And trail shoes!  It has been to long since I have hit the trails.  And $10 entry.  Only one aid station, with water only, but that is plenty for my large hand held bottle.

Start - on time this year.  I was just chatting with Monte and then it is run time.  I am farther back than I would like, but people are moving along.  Very large number of runners again, but well organized.  From the help with parking to the course markings everything is well done.

Actually nice to get off the trail and onto a logging road for about a half mile.  This lets everyone get to their own pace and spread out a little.  Most of this course I have run before not on this road.  Uphill then an equal downhill that I know is going to be tough on the way back.  About a mile on trail and then the stick part of the lollipop course is done.

I don't run with anyone, but it seems like someone is always fairly close.  I continue to pass some, and also to get passed.  Long gentle downhill on cushy trail that is not too muddy and makes for some fast running. 

Past Mima Falls there is one valley that has two little bridges.  In my quest to run every trail in Capitol Forest I once ran this area from Mima Falls, and then another day started higher up and came back to the valley, but I did not know there were two identical bridges until I saw the gap in my GPS map.  Exciting part of today is that I get to cover that 300 feet or so that I had been missing and otherwise would have taken me hours to complete.

Up and into some clear cuts.  I expected the elevation to level off around 800ft, but that was a guess.  With my watch I am looking at elevation and ignoring pace, just glancing at the mileage now and then.  Feel good, but it is a long uphill with lots of walking. 

It finally levels out at 1,000 feet.  And a little snow in places.

Now I know I have a 700 foot decline in the next couple of miles.  Really nice running.  It warms a little as I head down and the sun even peeks out now and then.  Happy to reach the lollipop stick.  But that means there will be 50K runners coming towards me on their second loop.  I step out of the way each time one approaches and try to save a little energy for the road and uphill.

Reach the logging road and the uphill is not that bad.  Steve Walters, Pigtails and Jean sightings.  Now down and then a half mile on the trail back to the finish.  Tired but no wall.  A few foot issues and a minor hip thing, but nothing bad.

Finish - 15.1 miles on the GPS

So the course is shorter than last year and the weather and trail conditions were much better.  This gives me a 35 minute faster time than last year.  Can't really compare, but it was a great day and I feel like the running went very well.

66th place of 113

Saturday, January 14, 2017

1/14/17 Run for Faith and Food 10K

Third year in a row doing the 10K, plus I ran the 5K twice a few years before that.  So this great little race has been around for quite a few years now, but just is not getting the number of runners that it deserves.  I guess that the drive to Elma is a ways for some, but it is easier than going to Seattle.  Plus being in the Winter.  But with a warm church to wait in before and after, and the huge number of raffle items (two per runner this year) and the great vibe with support for walkers this really is a good event.  $30 preregister and it came with a high quality beanie.  I signed Jody up for the 5K and dragged her along this year.  She has done this before but maybe forgot how nice it is, later she would thank me for encouraging her to come.  She likes the 10:00AM start time too.

Super cold.  My third race in a row all bundled up.  About 26 degrees at the start.  Jody is now assessing the competition and asks Barb if she can switch to the 10K.  She is going to decide once she gets out there and sees if it is slippery at all.

Start - Both races start together and it is so small I have no trouble heading right out at the pace I want.  Loren and another guy get ahead right away.  I focus on pace.  Off the main road and on the back street I see that Loren is not gaining any more.  The front runner is getting far ahead.  Through the school property and another back road and I am slowing gaining on Loren.  So cold but not icy slippery.

Mile 1 - 7:54.  Feeling OK and still gaining on Loren.  Over Highway 12 to the 5K turn around.  Look back and I can see Mike Henderson a ways back.  He is doing the 5K and I realize that if I switched to that race, I could probably be overall winner.  It is so rare that I win a race, it is really tempting to switch now.  But unlike Jody, I never asked Barb if that would be OK, plus that just does not seem quite fair.  The past two years I have been third overall in the 10K (out of 9) and as I continue on, I do pass Loren putting me in second place with no chance of an overall win.

Mile 2 - Long straight flat part by the ponds.  Running scared that Loren will catch me.  Later I will find out that he was really not feeling well and only came to make us work hard to beat his title of winning the past two years.

Every year the course out here changes a little bit.  Volunteer directs out to the airport road, short out and back, then back to the little trail along the pond.  Last year we went out and back here, but this year we will continue around the backside of the pond.

Mile 3.5 - Crunchy frozen grass trail and some gravel.  Great excuse to slow a little and be careful.  Plus it is so cold.  These are good excuses for the fact that I probably will not beat last year's time.  Plus no one I can see in front or behind me.  Did I mention that the ponds are frozen over?  On the way out I saw some large rocks that had been tossed out there.  Now I can hear that someone is skimming stones and they are making an eerie reverberation as they bounce on the ice.

Out toward the playground and not sure if I should go left or right.  I veer to the right and it costs me a few seconds as I remember that we are supposed to go over the little bridge and around the second pond on the left.  I head over that way and see a comforting chalk arrow on the ground.  Now a paved trail and easier running.

Mile 4.5 - Back to the aid station and over the highway bridge.  Uneventful return trip.  Going to be close to last year's time but I really do not think I can do it.  Keep working hard to at least keep it under 50 minutes.  Pass some 5K walkers.  No ache or pain issues, everything is working well, but I will be happy to be done. 

Mile 6.2 - 6.04 on the GPS.  I cross the finish.  Joke about will they stop the clock when my feet stopped running, or when my nose stops running.  Congratulate Mike who did win the 5K.  Find out that Jody is doing the 10K.  I jog back and here she comes, cruising in to a first place woman award (out of three).

Now the raffles where we get pie, chocolate, a reflective vest and two-person tent.  Plus a ribbon for me and trophy for Jody.  Thanks for a great job as usual on this event, Barb.  Plan to run it again next year.

2nd place out of 8
Run for Faith #5

Monday, January 2, 2017

1/1/17 FSRC Resolution Run 5K

15th time running a race on New Year's Day.

A little bit of snow last night and the roads are slushy with ice in spots.  At 8AM the sidewalks and roads are fairly dangerous for running, but by 9AM it is almost all slush.  Still I will have to be careful and I am not going for any speed records today.  It is cold enough for me to have long pants, jacket, hat and gloves.  The gloves will come off mid race.


Start - On the track as usual here.  Crowded around the first turn and I try to be patient.  Moving up when there is an opening.  Now the little uphill from the track and that is the slipperiest part.

Mile 1 - 7:54 - A runner next to me sees me look at my watch as we pass the mile marker.  He asks "are we under 10 minutes?"  I tell him it was 7:54 and that is the fastest mile I have run all year.

Turn to the road just before the 5 mile and 5K races split.  I have done this so many times I know that as soon as we all make the left turn, there will be a cone and a turn around spot, since I am doing the shorter race today.  A volunteer had said something about 5K runners stay right, and as I approach the turn on the left side of the road I now see what he meant.  We are not taking that left turn, just staying straight and the cone is on this road, over on the right.  Not a big deal, but it might have cost me a few seconds.  Martinho is behind me and he will tell me that he turned left, then had to turn around and cross the road and it messed him up so that he never could catch me.  On the way back I see Martinho, Mike and Judy....fun to have these people to race with for so many years.

Mile 2 - 7:54!!  Even split.  So surprised and happy, though not as fast as I would like.  Still I will take it.  Try to keep it up.  No one close that I can chase, and no one right behind me either. Careful with the turns and ease up for the hill to the track.

Mile 3 - 8:03  Now run as fast as I can to get under 25 minutes.

Finish - 3.14 miles on the GPS.  My chip time is 24:54 so I think they were only chipping at the finish.  I had a 6 second lag to get to the start line, where I started my watch, so I will record 24:48 as my unofficial time.  Just a few seconds slower than my last 5K and for New Year's Day with cold and slush, I will take it.

In the old days we would now sit around for ages as the results were tabulated by hand from the poster boards.  But with Terry and family doing the timing, I can walk upstairs and have them see my number and right away give my a little sticker print out of my results and my third place in my age group ribbon.  This is great, because for a little New Year's craziness I have decided to head right back to Olympia and join the Club Oly group run (5.5miles) that starts at 11AM.  I make it there in plenty of time and have a nice run, getting 2017 off to a good start.

25th of 102
Race#406, 5K#108