Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Seattle Marathon 2012

Seattle Marathon - First Sunday after Thanksgiving
November 25, 2012
Shout out to Brooks ID athlete Kristen Carter!
2002 Seattle Marathon, 48 marathons earlier. Winning my own race.
My first marathon since July's Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon (Race report here) and the 12 hour in August that, yes, I still need to share here.  The Seattle Marathon was my second marathon I ran in 2002, finishing in 3:51 and the first Boston Qualifier in 2005. I  have run this race every year since 2002 except for 2009. Fastest time: 3:20 (2007), slowest: 4:05 (2004).

First BQ! 2005
My training began in earnest in October when I was intentional about doing YASSO 800s explained HERE: once a  week, starting with 4 x 800 and finishing up with 9 x 800.  I recruited some friends to meet me at the track and we each ran our own paces but were together, creating a sense of unity in the self-inflicted "good" pain. Every week we would show up, complain and whine about how we weren't ready, but "let's do this!" was said each time and somehow, we could get one more Yasso out of our bodies despite our brains telling us lies about not being able to do one more.

My goal was to complete the 800s in at a 7:00 mile pace or faster. I managed to meet or beat this time almost every time, but missed the mark occasionally. I'd done some long runs just a couple days before speed work a couple of times, challenging myself to make my tired legs run faster. I also added 100 squats to the end of most of my training runs to build up leg strength for the Seattle hills.

The week of the marathon, I ran the 10k Turkey Trot in place of the Yassos Turkey Trot report here.

Race morning arrived and I set off alone, Jeff was working and my daughters stayed home. I found the best $5 parking spot close to the start, the lot empty the 2nd year in a row. I will never reveal where this is! There is free street parking on Sundays but I have never been able to find a spot anywhere close to the start. I also was not running late and had 30 minutes to get to the start line. I opted to wear Brooks Ghost, capris, underarmour with my Maniac running T, gloves with a hand warmer and a head band to keep my ears warm. It was chilly but dry.

Sans Garmin, I used the mile markers and my watch to track time, a method that is good but the GPS system keeps me more informed about my OVERALL pace. Mile markers are notoriously not accurate but I had a pretty good idea of how I was doing. With the National Anthem sung, we were off and running and I quickly found myself behind the 3:20 pace group before mile one.

My goal was to stay in front of the 3:25 group as long as possible and held them off until we crossed over the Mercer Island bridge around mile 7.  Up to that point, I had a consistent pace of about 7:45 per mile. The bridge is one of my favorite sections of the course as it's a long out and back, allowing runners to see nearly everyone in front and behind them.  The front runners moved like gazelles, Uli Steidl leading the pack. Tony Phillipi, Maniac #2 was up at the 3 hour pace group. Lots of friends in passing, many who are finishing their fourth half or full marathon in four days (Quadzuki/Quadzilla).

I lost a minute at mile 8 as I sat down to remove a minuscule but irritating rock from my shoe.  Soon we were entering Seward Park after running a longish stretch along flat Lake Washington.  I did my one and only sprint triathlon here. The half marathon mat was ahead and I saw I could come in just under 1:42, a little faster than last year. This race was feeling a little lonely, even surrounded by so many runners. Many races I end up near friends but today I had to do it alone. No Garmin, Ipod, or conversation distraction.

We headed out of Seward Park, back along Lake Washington and aimed for the bridge far in the distance. Lake Washington on our right, runners behind us on our left. We ran along Lake Washington for 6 miles before turning left on Galer to Madison. These are significant because it's the "wall" of mile 20 for many runners AND Galer is a bear of a hill and then Madison slaps you in the face with a half-mile-long gradual uphill. I felt twinges of impending leg cramps and walked/jogged up to mile 21, heel-toeing, trying to keep my muscles from tightening. Painful memories from Discovery Bay Marathon crept into my thinking and I intentionally slowed my pace after the uphill until I was sure I wouldn't be crippled with new cramps.  I think I lost at least a couple minutes during these few miles.  

By mile 23, we had survived the hills along Interlaken Blvd. The finish line is within sight by mile 24 as we saw the Space Needle in the distance.  Mile 25 and I was running hard, so it seemed. We turned right down a big hill on Republican, a quad buster for many runners. I pounded the hill and a German runner yelled, "Go! Go! Go!", as I caught up to him. I told him we could possibly get 3:30 if we pushed hard. The next mile was humorous and unexpected. I suddenly found myself with a German Angel barking orders at me to RUN FASTER! SCHNELL! PUSH! GO! COME ON! SCHNELL!!!!! the whole mile. I actually laughed because it was so funny and ironic. I wanted a 3:30 and wasn't sure I would get it after losing a few minutes from the imminent cramping and rock removal. I knew I'd be close but I'd have to really really really push harder than I wanted to get it.

Last uphill along Mercer left me breathless as I kept up with my German coach/angel. I call him my angel because I wouldn't have run so hard if it weren't for him. I would have missed my goal.  My lungs felt like they were going to explode as we turned left and ran into Memorial Stadium, one of my favorite finish lines. Crowds of cheering spectators lined the field and "Schnell!!!" led the way to the finish. The clock read 3:30:48! Chip time: 3:30:36. I did it! Dankeschön my German friend.

I made my way to the recovery area, was amazed that Pedro finished in 3:35 (4th marathon in 4 days) and found my way back to my vehicle. I would be taking my daughter back to college and was meeting her in a couple of hours at the ferry which gave me time to change clothes, find lunch and return to the finish area to see others meet their goals. I had to make a finish line blanket fort in my SUV and created my own changing room.
Kismet chocolate bar
This was my official 50th marathon completed. Last year, Seattle was my 40th! And the awesome sauce poured on top is that I was the 50th overall woman. I remember my fastest here (3:20), it was my 13th marathon and I was 13th overall. I think this marathon and I have an unexplained kismet relationship. Did you know Kismet is a Finnish chocolate bar?  See? Fate.
Seattle Half-Marathon Video

Wow, I look serious!  

Seattle Marathon Results