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

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