Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bellevue Ghost Marathon 6/23/13

Woke up a little tired from the little jog I took the day before. I wasn't hurting especially but just fatigued. There were a handful of people signed up for this run and I somehow made it to the start on time. I had my camelback filled, tank and shorts on, cap and sunglasses prepped. I had studied the map the night before and even wrote out left/right at each turn. It would have helped if I had brought it with me. Thankfully the race director, Arthur Martineau, had copies of the directions for everyone.

No fanfare, timing mats and a finishing remark from Arthur that "the race started 2 minutes ago" set up off on our 26.2 mile journey.  Here's our huge group of runners. I'm standing behind my beautiful, leggy friend, Betsy.

My goal was 4:30 or faster. Or just finish. I would REALLY know until I had a few miles under my belt to see how my body was feeling.  We set out on a beautiful, quiet morning in Bellevue.  A guy took off in front and I started putzing along, staying in front of most of the group without trying. The general consensus this morning was, what's the hurry? 

David Pierson was quickly at my side, a fellow marathon maniac, a surprise since I didn't see him at the start. He was a little late and hurried to catch up with us.  He also ran Seattle Rock and Roll the day before and finished about the same time as I did but we didn' see each other. I met David during my Winter Triple, discovered he is deaf, and have blundered my way through conversations while David remains ever-patient with me. My daughter is minoring in ASL in college and keeps telling me to study!

David had the same plan, sort of, in that he wanted to run a 4 hour and I told him I would run a 5 hour and he told me I couldn't slow down and we'd run a 4 hour. Yeesh, these are the kinds of friends I have! We worked well as a team not getting lost and keeping each other on track taking in nutrition and liquid.

The course was rolling and we hit this very long section of downhill that killed my quads. We thought it would never end. I told David we must be running to H-E-L-L.  And what goes down, must come up or something equally original.  Haha.  Surprisingly we never had a huge uphill that seemed to be the equivalent of the downhill.  Thank the Lord!

David started tiring around mile 16 and after walking some more uphill and not being able to convince him I didn't mind sticking with him, I powered on my own off the main roads and onto a nice bike trail.  The time passed so much more quickly with David by my side.  My pace significantly slowed and I expected to see David and many others pass me but it didn't happen. I wasn't the only tired runner out there.  I wasn't feeling hurt but just fatigued.  Finishing seemed like a great idea. 

There were numerous times I had to stop and look around at street signs and/or ask people where I was to be sure I hadn't missed a turn.  There were a few times I was positive I had taken a wrong turn but somehow I was on the right path. I kept my pace slow and steady and made my way up the last final uphill to the finish line. Less than .2 to go and I stood waiting at another intersection for the light to change. What a difference between a big city marathon and low-key marathon.  I love both for different reasons.

The finish line arrived and I was one happy girl to be done. 26.79 on my Garmin. Got some water, found myself in second place and penguine-walked to my vehicle for the drive home. First I had to GPS a fast food place because I NEEDED french fries. 

My next race, Taylor Mountan Marathon, was in 6 days and I would not run leading up to it because my body was struggling to recover.  It was a good move.

Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon 6/22/13

This is my 5th year running this race. For those of us who have run all of the Seattle races,we were given special bibs and we had our name on a banner at the expo.  Our bibs allowed us to start in the corral of our choosing.

Jeff will one again be running the half marathon (his 5th year, too) even though he tells me he's never doing it again EVERY time. He once again signed up for next year at the expo.

Literally as we were still on our driveway about to leave for the expo on Friday afternoon, I received a call from my step-mom with devastating news. My step-brother's daughter, Jordyn, died from a drug overdose at noon. She was 19, just a few months older than my older daughter. My heart was heavy all weekend as I thought about the circumstances and the pain my family was experiencing.

Jordyn with her brother

Jordyn was a beautiful girl, loving and left behind many friends and family.

Jeff and I went about our weekend, faking our way through the experience, keeping emotions tucked away so we could get through the race. The expo was packed and after picking up our special bibs and packets, we tried lots of free samples before heading to our hotel, Travel Lodge. This is a couple blocks from the start line and completely worth the money to be so close for such an early start race.

I packed leftover pasta this time and was so happy not to have to hoof it around Seattle looking for an overpriced restaurant to find some decent carbs.  I need to remember to do this more often. It was so relaxing to sit back, eat our homecooked food while watching a movie. No waiting or tips required.

Lights out around 10:00 and the alarm set for 5:00 a.m.  My earplugs were in and I was able to sleep fairly well once I let my mind stop asking impossible questions about Jordyn. I immediately went downstairs to find some food (the hotel opened it up early for runners) before getting my race gear ready. 

The morning flew by and by 6:40, we left our room for the start. I again missed the Marathon Maniac picture which was at 6:15.  I chose corral 4 and Jeff moved back to 7.  My emotions were welling up and I kept squashing them back. Found Larissa and met a fellow blogger. Just as were were to start, my tears couldn't be stopped and I grabbed Larissa's hand and asked her to pray for our family as my brother's daughter had passed away. I hadn't meant to do that to her just before a race but my heart needed a release and I knew she would understand. Thank you, Larissa, for being my rock on race morning. I couldn't share with anyone else what was going on until all I knew that the news was given to everyone that needed to know first.  I haven't seen Jordyn in years but the pain is still there as I consider my own daughters and the void that would forever exist without them.

My goal was to finish in 3:40 or better. I tried to run the first half smarter than the last race. The weather was close to ideal, a bit on the warm side but I loved it.  I don't have a lot of mile specific memories but here's what I do remember:

The tunnels, while providing shade, also provide a cantered surface, especially the Mercer Island tunnel, which makes running uncomfortable. I couldn't wait to get out of that tunnel!  I also lost reception in the tunnels on my watch. I somehow locked my Garmin and somehow unlocked it a few minutes later; how I did either is a mystery.  I was passed by a guy wearing a Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume. I passed him later as I also passed the guy dribbling two basketballs throughout the entire marathon. Imagine listening to bouncing basketballs nonstop and you will know why I made an effort to get by him.

The bands were good and the cheer squads but, in reality, you only hear them for a a minute as you approach and run by them. Most of my race was solo as I wasn't keeping pace with other runners or friends. It was great seeing some Maniacs on the out and backs.  I know I was not feeling great and wished I had more pep in my legs. My half marathon split was about right for a 3:40 finish. 

I tired the second half, took a couple quick walk breaks up some hills and felt faster as I passed half-marathon walkers. Finally I made the last turn onto Mercer and up the dreaded finishing hill.  3:42:19 chip time and as I made my way through the finisher's area, my arms were overloaded with bagels, smoothies, chocolate milk, water and just as I placed my bagel over the top of a water bottle, I found my beloved waiting for me with Pedro Infante.  This guy is so fast and so sweet!  He promised to outrun me to the finish of Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon in July since I was faster than last year. 

I realized I wasn't feeling great and we made our way to the beer garden where I gladly let Jeff have mine.  Sharon, Erik, Brian and Melissa (future Ragnar Relay partners) were all hanging out and soon we made our way back to the hotel where they allowed us a late checkout.  Red Robin was our next stop before heading home and resting up for the next day's run, Bellevue Ghost Marathon.

Yep, already signed up for next year!

  • 291 out of 2361
  • Division:
    9 out of 136
  • Gender:
    57 out of 1032
  • 5 km  24:41
  • 10 km  49:32
  • 10 mi  1:21:32
  • half   1:47:48
  • 18.1  2:30:57
  • 20 mi 2:46:50
Pace: 8:29
Chip time: 3:42:19
Clock time: 3:45:34

Saturday, July 6, 2013

North Olympic Discovery Marathon - 6/2/13

The night before a marathon shouldn't involve waiting for your duck to have x-rays.  It's not right. My life has never been "normal"(and who has a life like that anyway?). Tawney (or Tawny/Tawnie/Tawni depending on which family member you ask) has been limping for a couple of weeks but seemed to be getting better until June 1. We have 2 ducks, Stella and Tawny. We are Accidental Duck Owners, definitely a must-see Hallmark movie title.

Tawny and Stella
They are in a fully-enclosed pen and we have no idea how she hurt herself. Tawny took a turn for the worse this day and we decided she needed to see the vet. Our ducks are pets, not for eating, thank you. I'm mad at those who suggested we just shoot her and have her for dinner. I'm sure some of you are snickering but seriously, we've hand-raised her and she's a sweetheart. I could never ever ever ever do that.

Hours later, we are told she has a broken femur, a little unusual for a duck, and we are sent home with instructions to keep her enclosed in her small house. We would have to wait until Tuesday to hear from a doctor to see if she could get any further help or if we would have to put her down because her quality of life would be so poor. 

Race morning arrived and I put thoughts on Tawney on hold and tried to focus on the race before me.  Last year, I won the female race after coming in second overall a few times. Here's that race report:  NODM 2012 race report.   I had a great first half but struggled with major muscle cramping later and scraped the win by seconds. Thoughts of winning today were far from my mind as my training and body weren't ready to race hard and I really was just looking for a little improvement over Tacoma City Marathon's 3:49 finish.

Jeff drove Lori, Sharon and myself to the starting line (Sharon was pacing the half marathon) after arriving an hour early. I met up with other Maniacs in the building as we waited but my heart was heavy and I had to leave to get my emotions under control. I didn't think anyone would understand why I was teary over a duck.

I lined up for the 7th year in a row for the start of the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. This was my qualifying race for the Marathon Maniacs in 2006. I had a goal of keeping my pace about 8:00-8:30. For many miles, I was near the 3:35 pacer along with a woman running her first marathon. She had hoped to Boston qualify on her first marathon and I could only tell her that if she did, she would be the exception to most first-time marathoners.

The first 8+ miles are through the streets of Sequim before we get to the Discovery Trail.  The day was warm and many inexperienced runners haven't hydrated properly and begin to slow.  Jeff sightings through town and I feel a boost of confidence with his presence. We finally enter the trail and get some shade.  I was with the 3:35 pacer through the half marathon and said adios to him as I could tell I was fading. I hoped I could not fall too far behind but I knew my legs weren't ready to keep up yet. 

Mile 16 and we begin to get some rolling hills. The trail is beautiful, especially over the wooden bridges. Caterpillars are dropping from trees and litter the trail, dying by the hundreds as runners cannot avoid them. I tried not to think about it as I went on a killing spree to the finish line.

I focused on the mile I was in, tried to keep a decent rhythm, kept my heart rate under control on the hills and remembered how lucky I was to be running.  The last five miles of this course have given me some really fast miles but I knew that wouldn't happen today. And I was okay with it.  The marathoners were finally merging with the slower half marathoners. We finally arrived along the last mile of waterfront running and the marina looked incredibly far away.  I plodded along, tried to pick up my pace but realized my body has one gear.  As I approached the finish line, I saw Jeff on my right and Sharon on my left and that gave me a little extra energy to push harder to the finish line. I crossed just under 3:45, not as big an improvement as I would have liked but I accepted it as a step forward. No age group awards for me today.

I love this race even though there are some friends who don't see the appeal. I enjoy the smaller field, rural roads, beautiful surroundings, excellent volunteers and cool shirts. I don't LOVE the hills but if ya gotta run hills, might as well be on a pretty trail.

**I wrote this a month after the race and I know I've forgotten some important details, funny tidbits that always happen in a marathon, etc. I wanted to share for my animal loving friends that Tawney is doing better after getting some medical attention. She's been steadily improving and Stella won't have to live alone.

1 8:02.4 1.00 8:02
2 8:16.4 1.00 8:16
3 7:52.4 1.00 7:52
4 7:45.0 1.00 7:45
5 8:01.4 1.00 8:01
6 8:08.0 1.00 8:08
7 8:09.8 1.00 8:10
8 8:24.0 1.00 8:24
9 8:07.6 1.00 8:08
10 8:34.1 1.00 8:34
11 7:58.9 1.00 7:59
12 7:57.6 1.00 7:58
13 8:17.7 1.00 8:18
14 8:48.9 1.00 8:49
15 7:58.5 1.00 7:58
16 8:22.3 1.00 8:22
17 9:05.2 1.00 9:05
18 9:05.3 1.00 9:05
19 8:37.0 1.00 8:37
20 9:14.4 1.00 9:14
21 10:26.9 1.00 10:27
22 8:32.2 1.00 8:32
23 8:40.2 1.00 8:40
24 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
25 8:58.5 1.00 8:59
26 8:35.3 1.00 8:35
27 4:05.1 0.54 7:36

Summary     3:44:51.8    26.54 miles  8:28 average