Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sound to Narrows 12k

Sound to Narrows 12k
 (7.4564544 miles for the metrically challenged)

Sound to Narrows 12k, June 11, 2011

Saturday, 6:30 a.m....beep...beep...beep!  "What day is it?" I sat up startled as the alarm screached.  I have to stop waking up like this.  Maybe this is the beginning of senility, waking up not knowing what day it is or why the alarm would be sounding.

In a few moments, I remembered why I was waking up and quickly headed to the coffee pot, hoping to be revived by it's caffeinated magic wonders.  Okay, I gave myself 45 minutes to get out of the house.  The race started at 8:45 am and a group of us were meeting at 8:15 for the paparazzi.  I signed up under the Narrows Bridge Running Club team and was finally going to meet teammates for an upcoming relay in July. 

I decided to wear my running skirt and running "skivvies" underneath.  That's underwear  for those that are not OLD like me.  Grabbed my pink tank and my Discovery Marathon long sleeve shirt.  My race packet would be waiting for me at the Route 16 booth.  http://www.route16runwalk.com/ 

My family stayed home and cheered me on from their beds.  **Well, not really.  They were helping my parents while I played.  I was a good girl and went to help right after the race.**

 The race started at  Vassault Park in Tacoma.  I parked 3/4th a mile from the start and did a happy dance straight into an empty porta-potty that manifested itself along my walk.  I slipped inside the box of wonders and prayed the apartment complex residents weren't watching.

NOT the port-a-potty I found
 8:00 a.m. and I was already at the Route 16 booth...early!!!  Tony Seabolt had a Dirty Girls singlet I could wear for the race and I spent the pre-race time talking with a lot of running friends and posing for pictures. 

8:40 a.m arrived and I headed up to the race start, seeing other friends along the way. This is perhaps the largest attended community event in Tacoma.  I lined up with the green wave (first wave), with the other waves released in 5 minute increments.  The green wave is supposed to be able to run 7:30 minute miles so I set off with a goal to get in under 7:30 for my first 2 miles and see what my legs were willing to do after that. 

Cruising downhill for the first mile gave me a one mile split of 6:45 which I was extremely happy to see.  Ruth Perkins, the eventual overall woman's winner, passed me in the first 1/2 mile and I knew that something had gone wrong with her start as she should have been at the front of the pack.  She must have been running in the 5's and I tried not to think about how slow she made everyone look. 

One of the markers along 5 mile drive through Point Defiance Park
We entered the park and the up/down hills of Point Defiance slapped everyone into reality.  I ran this at Tacoma City Marathon but racing Sound to Narrows and pacing the 4:15 marathon group make this road two different animals. 

Uphills my quads would catch fire and I had to let other runners pass me.  I took advantage of the flats and downhills as much as I could, passing the strong uphill runners.  Somewhere along the drive, a woman asked if I was Ginger.  I was absorbed in thoughts of flaming torches and loved the distraction.  It turns out that I met a reader of my blog, Amanda!  Hi Amanda!  Thank you for saying hey to me and helping me to not think about my quads internally combusting for a couple of minutes.

We escaped the park to be faced with North Mildred Street, which should have been named Evil Canyon.  I literally felt like Jack (from Jack and Jill) falling down the hill and when I recovered from the pounding of the downhill, I hit semi-truck mode on an uphill.  As we rounded the corner from the hill, we had a nice stretch of road before hitting the last big ascent of the race, Vassault Street. 

I've found the best strategy on this road is to break it down into sections.  Hill #1, hill #2, short hill, long hill, etc.  This would be my slowest mile of the day, 8:19.  The last half mile I pushed myself as hard as I could knowing the finish line was just around the corner.  As I turned left off Vassault onto a downhill and right toward the grassy finish (being careful not to trip over a curb!), I saw the clock and was thrilled to see I would finish under one hour.

My Garmin read 57:03 with my last .5 at a 7:00 pace.  The Sound to Narrows site has me at 56:39, but that unfortunately doesn't seem right.  I believe this is my second fastest Sound to Narrows, with my fastest around 55 minutes.  I think I have only run this 4 times but will need to look at my running logs to confirm.

Overall results:
4/164 age group
27/1276 overall women
222/2478 overall men and women

Post-Race:  I ran through Point Defiance the next day with my husband but this time through the trail system.  We ran 10 miles at a leisurely pace, and with 4 miles to go, I told Jeff, "Okay, 6 done.  Now we can have fun!" and on the word "fun" I heard a KER-THUNK!  Well, at least one of us had fun.

I forgot to add that after the race, our team met at a restaurant for food, fun and prizes.  I wasn't able to attend but found a message on Facebook telling me I had won a bib for the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon set for August 6th!  Awesome!!!
Hanging out with the Original Narrows Bridge Running Club

Dirty Girls and Rhubarb

Tony Seabolt and his Dirty Girls harem

Does anyone else think I must be on stilts??

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Different Life

Zero.  That's how much exercise I did on Monday.  Usually I will run 2-4 miles the day after a marathon and then 4-6 by Tuesday.  So Monday I lived a sedentary lifestyle.  Knowing that sedentary lifestyles increase risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and overall crankiness, I knew Tuesday would mean getting the legs back on the road. 

My husband, Jeff, and I headed out for 4-6 miles in a local neighborhood.  After warning him that my quads still felt trashed from Sunday's run, we began our run at a moderate pace.  "You know this will be close to 10 -12 minutes a mile," I informed Jeff.  It turns out we hit our first mile at 9:21.  The second mile split was 9:17. 

Mile 3- well, I actually never hit it.  The molecular structure of concrete absorbed into my quadriceps during the second mile and after my legs literally buckling under me, I eased into a walk.  I sent Jeff on his way and I continued to walk to the finish, about 1.75 miles.  He got his 5 miles and I strolled through a beautiful neighborhood. 

This short time of walking gave me time to reflect upon my life and where I would be without running.  I present to you now the top 10 ways my life would be different if I wasn't a runner (as composed by me during my 30 minutes walk):

  1. I would have a garden.  I had one once upon a time.  Raised beds, slug repellant, nets, flowers, etc.  We finally leveled out that area this past year after having it sit dormant and overflowing with weeds since 2001.
  2. I would have a food-related business.  Believe it or not, I did have a business license to sell baked goods at the local farmers market.  The Gingerbread House.  Really.
  3. I would have attempted to show either food or a hand-sewn item at the local fair.  Once upon a time, I used my sewing machine and actually have made dresses for my girls.  They were toddlers at the time.  
  4. I'd be a best selling author.  Well, maybe.  I love writing and have started many projects over the years but you know, running takes a lot of time!
  5. My closet would be organized.  And my cupboards, and...a lot of other things.  And I would have liners and dividers and whatever else organized people use to make their homes look nice and function at top speed.
  6. I would have one pair of "workout" shoes. 
  7. My house would have a lot more space without a treadmill, weights, running shoes, and my drawers would have room for regular clothing.
  8. I would be fat.  Probably.  I don't want to know.
  9. I would feel like something was missing but not sure what it is.
  10. I would have scrapbooks filled with creative displays of my family's adventures instead of digital pictures stored away on our computers.
So there you have it.  This is the short list.  How would your life be different if you weren't a runner?

I made this before I discovered running. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

North Olympic Discovery Marathon - June 5, 2011

My first real race of the year had arrived.  I ran a 50k in January and the Tacoma City Marathon in May but neither were time goal races but rather finish and feel good races.  The North Olympic Discovery Marathon first ran in 2003.  I joined in 2006 after running Boston and Tacoma, meaning that this marathon secured my place in the Marathon Maniacs.  Perhaps that is the reason why this race is so special to me.  The course boasts amazing views of the Olympic Mountains, a beautiful trail with foot bridges, and finishes along the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

There are some hills throughout the course, most notably after the 16 mile mark where you are faced with a steep grade coming out of creekbeds.  If you know the course beforehand, you will not let it freak you out because the hills are not long even though they may seem intimidating.  Even walking up these hills you will not lose too much time over the course of the marathon. 

I decided to drive over race morning instead of staying overnight before the race.  I'm fortunate enough to live within 90 minutes of the start and with a 9:00 a.m. start, it was very doable to get there and still get a decent amount of sleep.  I love the later start even though many of my running friends would prefer to be on the road at least 2 hours earlier. 

I had arranged for another Maniac, Tim Bruce, to pick up my packet the day before just in case I was running late.  It turns out that the packets were still available when we arrived so I will remember that next year if we drive over on race morning.  Race morning started with a 5:30 a.m. alarm and believe it or not, I did not jump out of bed singing about bluebirds and rainbows.  Who are those people?  The coffee could not have been perking any slower as I stumbled through the house, trying to gather my race items.  I was so out of it when the alarm sounded, I had to ask Jeff, "What day is it?  What are we doing today?"  My daughter had taken the SAT the day before and I must have been dreaming about it because I thought I needed to get her to the test site. 

After checking my supplies a few times and giving my cat her insulin shot - that's another story - we escaped the house by 6:30 a.m, fifteen minutes later than I intended.  The drive to Sequim was thankfully uneventful and it was already 60 degrees, a temperature we have rarely gone above in months.  It had hit 80 degrees on Saturday in many places and I read with trepidation the marathon reports from other maniacs.  "Hot...brutal...survived...cramp city" were just a few descriptions from their races.  Imagine being holed up in a cold, dark cave for 7 months and suddenly you are thrust out into 80 degrees.  It's not really the 80 degrees that is so horrible but the lack of time to acclimate.  Washington has been the cave. 

Jeff parked maybe half to three-quarters a mile from the start, Carrie Blake Park.  We walked along the back of the park and hoped there would be an entrace.  I was getting a little edgy as we continued to walk and not see an entrance.  We passed a field overrun with campers and dogs, staying at the park for a dog show.  We found a chain link fence and didn't see a gate so Jeff cupped his hands together and umph, over the fence I climbed, in my running skirt.  We crossed the overgrown grassy field and reach the next fence which is locked so again, trying to be discreet as I flung my legs over the fence.  I felt my leg hurt a little, which added to my edginess.  Later I would discover a nice size bruise and a second one appeared the next day.  We also discovered that a trail entrance was just ahead about 10 feet from where we jumped the fence. 

Chain Link fence bruise
I got my packet, snuck into a Marathon Maniac photo shoot and made my way to the start.  I managed to use the porta potties a few times as my stomach was rumbling and rolling.  The ankle timing chip was secured through my laces with a safety pin since I have had bloody ankles when wearing these.  The volunteers don't mind the extra time it takes to unravel them and it saves me from another scar. 

As I walked past the starting line, I note a couple of speedy looking women and resolve not to be disappointed today.  This was something I would have to do repeatedly over the race.  I ran into some Marathon Maniacs and just before the start, Terry Sentinella found me and we decided to run together.  He has a 100 mile race next weekend and he was supposed to pace a 3:40 group.  There weren't any other pacers so he was happy to get a free entry and a long run with no time goals.  That suited me just fine but I was still worried that I might slow him down.  This man will be running the Badwater Ultramarathon in July. If you don't know what it is, here's a Badwater video preview

There wasn't much fanfare before the start and before I knew it, we were running.   The course starts out with a little incline and moderately rolling hills.  Our mile splits are in the mid 7s to 8s until mile 17.  I knew by mile 6 that this may not be my day but I had no idea how burnt out my legs would be and how soon.  In the past times I've run this, I may have walked portions of the steep uphills but not through aid stations or anywhere else. 

Terry kept the race fun and we had lots of time to talk about our families, racing and the evils of consuming dairy the night before a race.  I told him to go ahead anytime if I was slowing him but he kep his word and stayed with me through the whole race.  As I watched other women pass me during the race, I had to keep my thoughts in check and not let them control my run.  Terry called me out on my negative thinking a few times and that helped to keep things in perspective.  At some point in the race, the cold, hard reality of not finishing in the top of the field hit me pretty hard.  I wasn't trained for a fast marathon but the hope that my body could still pop one out was in the back of my mind. 

I walked countless times in the second half, nothing too long, but any walking feels like too much when it's something you don't normally do.  I watched people pass me who didn't look like they should be faster than me.  Steve Walters passed me and he ran a marathon on Saturday.  C'mon, Steve, have pity on me!

We had reached the homestretch and even with less than a mile to go, I had to take a short walk break!  My quads had been screaming at me for miles and kept me from running a decent pace in the second half.  I will admit that negative thinking and not having that tough mentality kept me from pushing harder, too. 

A small price to pay for 26.2 miles
I attempted a pathetic sprint at the end and finished in 3:46:45.  My Garmin had me at 26.44 miles and an 8:34 average.  I didn't cry this time and managed to not whine too much out loud.  The recovery area was filled with music, people milling about, some hobbling, others glowing from finishing their first marathon or perhaps a much larger number while others relished in a personal best.  I found my way over to to the results and discovered I was 53rd overall, 5th in my age and the 16th woman, not fast enough to win any awards this year.  A blister on my foot thankfully didn't cause any problems during the race.

We gathered our things, chatted with some friends and made our way to the SUV.  I think I shook my head the whole way home, wishing I could have done something differently.  I had thought a Jack in the Box meal and Snickers bar would make me feel better but it just gave me indigestion.

My next race is the Sound to Narrows 12K next weekend and two weeks later, Seattle Rock and Roll aka the Concrete Jungle. 

Mile Splits:
  1. 7:36
  2. 8:00
  3. 7:39
  4. 7:44
  5. 7:52
  6. 8:06
  7. 7:57
  8. 8:18
  9. 8:09
  10. 8:09
  11. 8:01
  12. 8:05
  13. 8:27
  14. 8:45
  15. 8:23
  16. 8:41
  17. 9:22
  18. 9:21
  19. 9:21
  20. 9:34
  21. 10:26
  22. 8:46
  23. 9:27
  24. 9:14
  25. 9:19
  26. 8:38
   .2-  7:45 (mile avg.)