Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dolphin Dash 5k - May 12, 2012

Start of the Dolphin Dash 5k 

6 days after the Tacoma City Marathon, I got a chance to run a hometown 5k.  I actually considered running  to the start as it is 4 miles away and that would have been a nice shake out, but my youngest daughter was signed up as well and doesn't have her driver's license.  We had our packets picked up the day before so we had a leisurely morning before arriving about 8:15.  I had a chance to do a short one mile warm-up and then made my way to the front of the crowd for the start. The sun was shining but was a bit chilly in just a tank.  

Sharon, Nancy, Shawn and I were towards the front of the crowd and there was a woman next to me who had been out with a broken rib since last fall.  This was her first race in 2012 and I could tell she's probably fast. She's in the picture above, to my left. You can see that I must outweigh her by at least 40 pounds.  Well,  maybe you can't see it but I did!  Compare her twiggy arms to mine if you're not convinced.  

The race was chip timed and started in the school parking lot.  We took off and immediately I hit race mode,  and quickly found my way onto Sidney Road. The woman, Alice, passed me within .25 of the first mile and I was fine with it.  My energy level was good but only 6 days after marathon, I didn't have 100% give-it-your-all speed.  We ran under the highway and up a moderate incline past the jr. high school.  Around mile one, we passed a convalescent home and I was at 6:44.  Funny story:  WAY back in the early 1990s, I was driving along this road and as I approached the driveway to the nursing home, minding my own business, an old man in a wheelchair flew out of the driveway, crossing 2 lanes of traffic and into the dirt median, just before crossing into the baseball field parking lot.  Crazy!  After another car stopped and checked on him before I could, I ran in and told the nurses that one of their residents was in the street.  You cannot make up this kind of stuff!  They freaked, rightfully so.

Ok, so we continued on this stretch of road, up some more, but a moderate incline.  Turned right and the only time I ran this before, we had continued down the dead end road before turning around and continuing around the block and back to the main road.  Yada yada. They didn't have us do that and it would come back to bite them in the certified course.  

Mile 2 was 6:41 and I tried to give it everything I had but honestly I didn't feel like I had much left in me.  Which makes a marathoner kinda upset.  It's just 2 stinking miles!  But I digress.  No other woman had passed me and I didn't hear any footsteps so I just needed to keep moving at a decent clip and I should be 2nd.  As I got closer to the finish, I knew the course would come up short.  I rounded the last corner and saw the clock ahead in BIG RED NUMBERS:  19:30.  No. Way.

I finished in 19:44 but my distance was 2.92.  The other GPS geeks also agreed with me and those who didn't know probably celebrated with a beer fest that night over their amazing personal record in the 5k.  Woo-hoo!!

Jessica finished in just over 27 minutes and I am super proud of her for running this race!  Running without a soccer ball at her feet is akin to breathing without oxygen.  This race benefited the local PTA so many children and teachers participated and they had special awards for the fastest student and teacher.  The age group awards were combined between men and women - WEIRD!  They also only gave the overall winner an award.  So that really fast woman a minute ahead of me?  She didn't get an award.  A man won her age group.  Is that not one of the stupidest award rules ever?  

Surprisingly, I won first in the 40-49 age group and Nancy won second!  I couldn't believe that the 40 something year old men weren't' in front of me.  Jessica won a random prize of Sounders pencils.  "Cool! I am almost out of pencils!" Nancy's husband won a $50 gift certificate to Dick's sporting goods.  I won a blue ribbon.  Not sure how I'll spend it.  I finished the day by a slow 12 miles in the sunshine.

Avg Pace

Me, Sharon, Nancy
First and Second!

First place!

Nancy, Sharon, me and Jessica

Tacoma City Marathon

Tacoma City Marathon
Marathon Maniac group photo

Race Director Tony Phillip looking ready for some down time.

I've run the Tacoma City Marathon in its inaugural 2007 year and every year since EXCEPT 2008, when I wasn't sure I was ready to run those hills again.  Too bad I'm not one of the few that have run it every year.  Tony Phillipi, Main Maniac #2 and race director, heads up this great race and always makes sure the Maniacs have something special awaiting them at the finish line.

The expo was Friday and Saturday, with a Maniac awards ceremony, pasta dinner with guest speaker, Gary Allen, on Saturday evening. I picked up my packet on Friday, scored some clearance Maniac gear and enjoyed visiting with some running friends I hadn't seen in months.  Terry Fritz offered to drive me to the race with him on Sunday. After figuring out that I would be going solo to yet another race, this seemed pretty smart, especially since we live on the same road!

I debated about what to wear:  Brooks ID singlet or the clearance red Maniac singlet.  I was wearing my Maniac hat and opted for the Maniac tank...BUT I didn't like how it was so swirly around my belly.  I needed a LARGE because of the length.  So I did what every marathoner does on race morning.  I got my sewing machine and did a quick alteration on the seams.  Wah-lah!!  Much better.

Terry and I hit the road about 6:10 a.m. and  made it in plenty of time for the 7:30 a.m. start.  Parking was easy and a nice surprise.  We made our way to the empty porta-potties and then waited for the Maniac pre-race photo.  I seem to miss these quite often so I was happy to actually get to join in on this one.

Lots of friends to see!  I was feeling nervous but pretty good.  And then it happened.  Mental games.  A comment was made to me by someone that hurt my feelings.  I'm sure it was unintentional but I couldn't get it out of my head and I had to go off and cry a little.  I know this person wouldn't ever say anything to be mean.  I tend to be a little emotional on race days to start so any off-handed remark can feel like a blow to the stomach.  After gathering my emotions, I lined up at the start along with hundreds of other runners.  Mary Hanna was there but told me this was a training run.  Her goal would be about a 3:30, faster than most runners will finish, but for her, a walk in the park.  My goal was to finish faster than 3:30.  That's it.  Or just finish.

Terry was hoping to finish in 3:20 and would go on to get a 3:11!

Miles1-3:  We started on Commerce Street to Jefferson and head out on a long, slight incline until turning right to Jefferson towards Wright Park.  First mile was 7:30, a little slower than I had hoped but it felt like a good pace to start.  The first 3 miles are more uphill than anything.  Not terribly steep (except for 4th street to Wright Park) but noticeable.  Mile 3 was 8:16 and I wasn't thrilled to go over an 8 pace but I had a lot of miles to go.

Miles 4-6:  Going through Wright Park was nice because I knew it would be awhile before I had the bigger hills in the second half.  I enjoyed some spectator support through the park and downtown streets, running a 7:10 in the 5th mile.  Pedro (not Pedro I.) caught up with me and we ran for a few minutes together before he picked his back up his pace again.  I think I lost satellite reception here because I had an 8:37 pace and the mile markers were off from that point.  I know I hadn't slowed that much.  There's also a "drop" in my Garmin from a 6:23 to a 40 minute pace at this point and I never stopped during the marathon.  Other friends came up short on their distance but we all know it's not a short course.

Miles 7-10:  The long straightway before the hills.  I was hoping to run close to 7:30 during this stretch considering how it was overall fairly flat.  I managed to run 7:39-7:49 miles, mostly solo, which makes it harder for me to keep up my pace.  Terry F. and Pedro I., both passed me along this road after making a bathroom stop.  The course ran along the Tacoma waterfront and I recalled the last time I was there, running and gasping for air at the Ruston Way 5k.

Miles 11-15:  Point Defiance.  Coming off the waterfront, we climbed a short but steep hill.  I walked about 5 seconds and then picked it back up, my only walk break in this marathon.  Here is where you gather your courage and try not to think too much, at least for me.  In the past, I have burned myself out on the hills, only to run slowly on flats and downhills later in the race. I decided to let pride go and keep my effort level even, and when the legs start burning, to back off and not to look at my Garmin.  Mile 11-12  I'm positive is all uphill.  Don't look up too much, tell jokes, sing songs, recite poems...do anything but think about this mile.  I finally crest the top and was greeted with a nice downhill for half a mile.

Half-way:  1:40-1:41.  Cannot remember exactly and my Garmin hadn't matched up with the miles since the 6th mile.  A 3:20 was most likely out the window given that a negative split on this course for me would be just shy of a miracle.  After some more rolling hills through the park, we made our way towards Vassault after a demolishing downhill/uphill park exit that slapped all the runners on the butt as a "thank you for visiting" memento.

Miles 16-20:  Tony P. altered the course last year with a much-welcomed turn off Vassault through flatter neighborhoods.  This is where runners find out if they have any oomph left in their legs.  I felt like I was dogging it in mile 16 with an 8:10 but was soon feeling the hills leaving my legs.  The energy was returning and I got to mile 20 with a smile on my face.  I'd been taking gels, a total of 6 during the race, about 3 more than I normally have, and it seemed to be working well for me.  My thought as I went through the 20 mile aid station was that I was feeling better than I have on this course in the past and that if I can get keep my rhythm for 4 miles, I will have a great 2 mile downhill finish.

Miles 21-24:  We ran along the Scott Pierson trail which paralleled the highway and as I approached the Cheney Stadium aid station, the Dirty Girl relay team was going wild!  I had been seeing them at various spots and honestly it didn't occur to me that their team was close to the same pace as I was.  Wenche quickly passed me and they would go on to win 1st in their relay division with a 3:21  finish.  Their cheers for me gave me an added boost of energy.  Mile 23 around Union Avenue always has a police office to help us cross over.  This is a major intersection with lots of drivers who wish they hadn't taken that street.  I ran along the trail past the golf course, polo shirts out in full force.  The trail ended and deposited us onto 25th street.

Miles 25-26.2:  The downhill didn't start as soon as I hoped and I clocked a 7:27 at mile 25.  And then the fun began!  I was feeling good and told myself I only had to run one mile.  Run one mile as fast as you can!!!  I started ticking off runners in front of me and then I saw a female runner ahead with only half a mile to go.  The road was running out and I wanted to give everything I had.  It was a Maniac Diva I didn't know and I didn't make time to introduce myself.  I caught up to her and kept going!  Go! Go! Go!  Mile 26 - 6:36!!

The finish line was in sight and just in front of me was one of the Piercy brothers. I told him, "Come on, finish with me!" and he kept pace with me through the finish line.  3:22:46, my second fastest Tacoma City Marathon.

I'm super happy with my time and even though I'd like to run up the hills at a better clip, I know I raced well for my own capabilities and training.  It gave me hope that I can get back into the 3:teens on a flatter course.

I was the 5th woman overall, 2nd master (after Merita Trohimovich) and 1st in my age group.  Love this race, love the volunteers and race crew.  I would recommend this race.  Next year should see changes to the course involving flatter, faster roads!

At the finish with MM#1 Prez Steven Yee
Oh yes, I'm happy!

Lizzie Lee and I at the finish.

Avg Pace
79 ft. -17:29.81.007:30
167 ft - 27:37.51.007:38
331 ft - 38:16.01.008:16 
281 ft - 47:35.11.007:35
147 ft - 57:10.21.007:10
48 ft - 68:37.11.008:37 - Garmin lost satellite (?)
37 ft - 77:43.01.007:43
19 ft- 87:47.81.007:48
13 ft - 97:39.01.007:39
22 ft - 107:39.71.007:40
81 ft - 117:48.81.007:49
249 ft - 128:35.41.008:36
251 ft - 137:49.01.007:49
316 ft - 147:48.71.007:49
220 ft - 157:35.21.007:35
241 - 168:10.41.008:10
320 ft - 178:00.51.008:01
354 ft - 187:58.61.007:59
382 ft - 197:49.81.007:50
371 ft- 208:02.01.008:02
313 ft - 217:36.21.007:36
309 ft - 227:44.61.007:45
325 ft - 237:47.41.007:48
354 ft - 247:58.01.007:58
206 ft - 257:27.01.007:27
100 ft - 266:36.01.006:36
87 ft - 27:25.30.085:30