Tacoma City Marathon
|Sharon and I sporting an XL Maniac shirt. We're patenting it as a tandem running shirt. I know I can get Sharon to her PR with this! Stick with me, Sharon!|
|Marilyn Pyke, me and Sharon Butler|
|Me, Bill, Marci, Bob, Sharon Tony, Marilyn and a Maniac I don't know|
|Monte, Sharon and I with our prizes.|
The Tacoma City Marathon was the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Marathon Maniacs, a pussycat group of 3 can-you-top-this guys that started in 2003. You can read how it all went down here: So how did the Marathon Maniacs club start anyway?
Steve, Tony and Chris had no way of predicting the magnitude of that decision a decade ago.
The weekend started Friday with the expo held at Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma, race headquarters. Currently unemployed, I chose to pick up my bag early. I snagged some free leftovers from previous races, socialized a bit with some friends and made my way back home before the swarm of Maniacs arrived after regular work hours.
Saturday, Sharon and I went to the Maniac meeting, scored a couple plastic cups as prizes, and left the meeting early as it was running late and we both needed to get home and carb up for the next day. The meeting and dinner had some unexpected problems, like running out of food and being oversold, but like any family, we still love each other and recognize stuff happens.
I ate leftover spaghetti for dinner and was suddenly feeling wired. With a 7:00 a.m. start, even with a start line 25 minutes from my house, it was going to be an early morning and I wanted some decent sleep. There are moments in time when you wish you could slap yourself and the next is one of mine.
Thinking that I would not be able to sleep, and knowing that the PM medicines tend to make me headachey and groggy in the mornings, I decided I would pour myself a drink. You have to know at this point that I am not a drinker. I won't go into details on my past exploits when under the influence, but let's just say...hmmm...no, let's just not say anything. I will say I'm not a depressed drinker but rather EVERYTHING is funny. That is all.
I sipped on my vodka-infused lemonade (did I forget to mention it was Mike's Hard Lemonade?), hoping it would make me sleepy. Instead it made me dopey and I poured myself another. I would have been okay with one (maybe) but two? Let the ridiculousness begin! 10:00 or so and I sauntered to bed, feeling a bit woozy and wobbly.
10:05 pm: Swoosh! Wait, what was that? Oh, must be a cat in the litter box. With 4 cats, the box is like Grand Central Station.
10 seconds later: "MOM!" Okay, what? I really had too much to drink because the litter box swooshing sounds like someone calling MOM. It's like when the heater is on and you hear voices. You do hear voices, right? Oh...never mind.
10 seconds later: "MOM! MOOMMMM!" The whisper yell of my daughter finally made it's way into my loopy brain and I rolled out of bed and teetered into the hallway. The first thing I noticed was one of our cats, Lily, at attention staring up a wall. This was followed by Jessica in freeze frame position, ready to run as she stated that a frog was in the hallway. A frog!
|Never mix Vodka and frogs|
At this point, it should be noted that I am not an insect-loving, nature-is-my-friend, oooh-please-let-the-snake-wrap-around-me kind of girl. I'm the, "Get a shoe or box or anything and get it out of the house!" kind of girl. Sorry, but the inside of my house is my territory. You critters need to keep your place in this world.
I saw that it was a little guy (I actually don't know if it was a male or female, for the record) trying to escape the certain death by feline. I got in sprinter's stance and quickly got down and wrapped my hands over it, totally like a National Geographic episode in real life. Ha! It escaped through my fingers and I was jealous of it's plyometric skills. I caught it again and fell backwards a bit (this is a Vodka Topple ®) before recovering my balance and still holding the slimy bugger hostage. And then...lights out! No, I didn't pass out. Jessica hit the light switch, accidentally or not I am still not sure, and suddenly I had a slimy frog wiggling in my hands in the dark. Another Vodka Topple coming up!
The giggling commenced, the lights returned and I slalomed my way to the front door to release the frog to its rightful home.
I snickered my way back to bed after washing my hands and fell asleep quickly. Unfortunately when you drink, it has a cause/effect having to use the bathroom. 2:30 a.m., my bladder informed me it was quite ready to be emptied. A straight line from my bed to the bathroom could not be found as my head was in a Vodka cloud. I realized this same cloudy head was pounding and my stomach was also unhappy. The blankets and bed held no hope of a good night's sleep for me and not-so-soon, it was 5:30 and time to peel myself from their angry grip.
I arrived at the airport in Gig Harbor at 6:15, enough time to use the secret porta-potty that I didn't know was a secret until I was called out while waiting in line. Thankfully I wasn't kicked out of line but still missed the group picture of the Maniacs. I think I've only made one of these in the history of my racing.
|Sabrina, myself and Heidi before the start|
|Being chased down by the 3:40 pace group,|
As we rounded the corner toward the bridges, with the mountains as the backdrop against azure skies, the waters of Puget Sound under the two Narrows Bridges, the beauty of this image caught out-of-towners by surprise.
|Galloping Gertie IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW THE STORY OF THE FIRST NARROWS BRIDGE: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/TNBhistory/Connections/connections3.htm|
The bridge crossing is about one mile and finishes with a deceiving incline up through War Memorial Park. I had the advantage of knowing this and kept my effort steady. Miles 5-13 meandered through different neighborhoods and I managed to keep my mile averages in the 8s for the first half. I crossed the half-way mark in 1:48-1:49. I had been taking salt tablets, gu, water and the electrolyte drink offered at each aid station. The heat was a bully, relentless and unforgiving. Had this been a race in July or August, most of us would have had time to acclimate but most Seattle natives were struggling. I knew early on in the race I wouldn't be able to hold a low 8 pace for the duration but this was a day to hang on as long as possible to check in on my current fitness.
Miles 13+-18+ had us run through Point Defiance Park on Five Mile Drive.The previous TCM's had us run this in the opposite direction and you have to believe me when I say this was definitely easier. Really. Despite the rolling nature, the beauty of Point Defiance and the most-welcomed shade made this section a treat.
Five Mile Drive looks like this plus it has astounding views of Puget Sound.
I began to feel nauseous as I came out of the park and forced myself to continue fueling and drinking water. Miles 18-26.2 felt like this:
Each mile that passed along this long, flat road to the finish, I would set a new goal. First, stay under a 9 pace each mile. Okay, maybe 9:30. Alright, a 10 minute pace is just fine. I would walk at times until my mile pace hit ten before running again. Hopes of coming in under 3:45 faded quickly and after leap-frogging with different runners, I was able to settle in with a guy running his first marathon. He was aiming for a sub-4 and we did the math and estimated a 3:50 finish was possible with a 10 minute pace. He had to walk and I continued on, found some more people to share the last miles with before finally seeing mile 25 and hearing the finish line.
My pace quickened slightly and I made myself not take any more walk breaks. The finish line seemed so far away. I rounded the last corner and crossed the finish line exactly in 3:49:00. Marathon Maniacs received special finisher's medal and after getting some water, I made my way back up the course a little ways to watch for my friend, Sharon, to finish.
Tony Phillipi asked what I thought of the new course after I finished. At the time, I really couldn't tell him if I like it any better except for Five Mile Drive, which is decidedly better than the original course, at least for me because uphills suck the life out of me.
The heat made it difficult for me to judge or compare between the two. If it had been in the typical 60 degree temperature range, I believe the course could be exceptional. The last stretch is beautiful and flat but the temperature made it difficult to enjoy when most runners were overheated and wanting shade. The one thing I really miss from the original course is the last couple of miles. I have some seriously fast miles at the end of a marathon from the original course.
I plan to run this again and again and again. Love the race organizers, the ever-present Marathon Maniac spirit, and its proximity to home.
Avg Moving Pace
|overall place:||143 out of 886|
|division place:||6 out of 87|