Sunday, June 29, 2008

Seafair Marathon Results and Report

This was the 4th year of the Seafair Marathon and the 4th version.
2005 1st ever Marathon, I ran a 3:59:50, Great course, run down to and along Lake Sammamish.
2006 26th Marathon/Ultra, 3:57:39, a little tougher course, up and around Bridle Trails.
2007 47th M/U, 3:48:22, 3 min. PR mostly the same course as last year.
2008 67th M/U, 3:27:44, 21 min. PR, Toughest course yet, 1600 ft of gain and HOT!
I finished 8th in my age group and 48th overall.

It was cool running across the bridge but not really that much different than Seattle.

Splits were:49,50,52,55 minutes pr ~ 10k.
Full Race results are here.

Race Report to follow later...

I drove the course Saturday and got to witness first hand all the hills everybody had been talking about. That and the forecast, together with a cough I was given by Jenn all wrapped up in a satin bow, I saw my chances of making my goal time of 3:20 becoming harder and harder to achieve. My PR was still the 3:48:22 I ran here last year.

I didn't give up all hope. I like the heat, I like hills (running down them anyway), and I've never let a cold stand in my way of a finish line. New plan; run my race as planned, for as long as I could and then I could really see what I was made of... right?

We started the race about 13 minutes late. No biggie I knew Jenn would figure it out when the first runners came past late. It just meant it would be slightly hotter as I went around the course. The start was crazy, both the full and 1/2 started together. I started at a controlled pace about 5 seconds back from the starting line. I heard it was really crazy another 100 yards back.

Running across the bridge was cool but not the awesome wow factor that I expected. It was better than going across the I-90 bridge. I cruised up the east span and into Bellevue with very little effort. Before I knew it I'd reached Main Street in Bellevue so I started looking for my crew. Jenn and the kids were to meet me there and hand me some Heed. I saw them right away and there was Nicolette holding a recycled water bottle out so I could grab it as I went by. Isn't she cute!

Right after Main Street the real hills start. There were a few people walking up them. Only 7 miles in I figured it was too early for that so I grunted over all three slowing to 5.5 mph on the steepest one. They were just as steep on the back side so I really had to work to get the maximum benefit from gravity. After pushing it on those hills and drinking the 16 ounces of heed I really didn't want to pick up my 2nd bottle when I came back around to the mall(after 4 miles), but when I saw sweet little Jessica holding it out for me I couldn't refuse.

I could feel the heat already and it wasn't even 8:30 am. Somewhere between 10 and 12miles my ankle started to really hurt. I think it was from the camber in the road. Worse than the pain was the loss in strength. My gate turned into a wobble. I took a couple Advil just to try and take the edge off. And since I was taking things, I downed 2 salt tabs.

I passed over the half marathon mat at 1:39:27. That was about a minute slower than I wanted to be. I knew I'd be slowing down on the long hill at Bridle Trails and the other big one at 22 miles. Basically the writing was on the wall. There was no way I could make the second half in 1:41. I was still on track for a huge PR so I pressed on with everything I had, at least it felt that way at the time.

I really felt the ankle once I crested the top at 16.5 miles. I tried to run where the road was flattest but it didn't help much. I some places we could only run on the shoulder. They didn't block off a lane for us to run in. After I got past the boat ramp in downtown Kirkland I was forced to run up on the sidewalk because the angle was more than I could take.

I felt like I wasn't moving very fast but I did manage to pass a couple marathoners on the last hill. Once I made it to the top of the final hill it's only 1.5 miles to the finish. That was the longest 1.5 miles of the race. My ankle was screaming at me to stop and I could only manage about 8 mph downhill! The clock read 3:26:?? when I finished but after checking my watch and seeing the results online, I know that was wrong.

My youngest was there at the finish waiting for his turn to hand me a bottle. That was one good Mocha.

I was pretty dead when I finished, it was hot, but after 10 minutes I felt fine. I felt like I could go out and run some more (except for the ankle). It's a lot different than when I came in at 4 hours and it took a week to even think about putting my running shoes on again.

Today my legs feel great, my head is a little foggy from running with a cold and my ankle doesn't hurt if I walk around on my toes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

LYU 2008 Race Report

A day in the life of a running race director

My day started early. I loaded that last two boxes and cooler into the trailer and then got myself ready to go. The weather was a little cool so I'm really glad Jenn didn't let me leave for the race in just shorts. Brrr! Friday's rain had stalled a little, it came during the night, so it wasn't raining but the ground was wet and it was colder than I had planned.

I made it to the start sometime between 4:30 and 5:00 am. Steve and his Daughter Janna, who is only 15 years old, were already out on the trail. Congrats Janna!!! We quickly unpacked all the food, tables, tents, race bags, etc. and set up for the early starters. There are always a few people who get there early that jump in and lend a hand. Thanks!

I created a huge timing nightmare by letting people go before the official early start of 6 am. I thought it would be easy to keep track of but it wasn't. Lesson for next year I guess. I'm actually going to look into the cost of using timing chips. Two of my volunteers backed out at the last minute so we were kind of spread thin. With a professional doing the timing that would be one less thing for me to worry about.

My running plan was to run with the regular starters like I did the first year. Because we were short handed, that was changed to run 2 laps and then my 3rd would be a sweep lap sometime after 1 pm. I knew standing around for over 3 hours would make me stiff and slower but it’s all good training for something.

The start was crazy once again. By the time we got everybody checked in, it was time to start. I didn't have time for a long winded speech about the race so I just said GO. Of course I was still standing there in my sweats. After stripping off my sweats and lacing up my Brooks Burn racing flats (and a quick bathroom break) I headed out 10 minutes behind the 7:00 am start on a mission to catch as many runners as I could.

The first person I saw was young Casey Wilkin, 17 years old and fresh off the Green River Marathon the week before. He was doubled over like he was tossing his breakfast but started running again before I could get there to help. I ran with him for a couple minutes or so before going on ahead. He went on to have a great day.

The next runner was Bob Stoyles, 79 3/4 years young, he was looking strong and would finish 2 laps in just over 5 hours. I hope I can still move like that when I'm his age. Forget all the Elite Athletes and Media Stars, it's people like Bob that are the truly amazing runners. He should be on the Brooks Running Team. He's out there a lot longer, giving more minutes and hours of exposure, than the runner who finishes in the top 10.

I think my personal best 1 lap time around Lake Youngs in training or racing was 1:20 or 1:21. I beat that by over a mile. My first lap was 1:10. It felt good. I got into the Start/Finish area needing to take care of a few things (I had made a couple of phone calls to the A/S during my lap) but I got back out on the course for my second loop in no time. This loop also felt good. I pushed the pace trying to catch up to and say Hi! to as many runners as possible. Everybody was happy and smiling, at least while I was there. Again I was one of those guys talking on the cell phone while running. Geeze just hang up and drive, I mean Run. I'm sure I was weaving all over the trail.

I made it back to the A/S in 1:14. I was shocked at how good I felt. I really wanted to go and bust out a third lap, but today was not about me. My place was at the end of the loop giving everybody the experience that they came for. People say I put on a great race, but I just try to make it the way I would want it as a runner.

The 4 hours at the Start/Finish area flew by. It's great to see people finishing. Some are setting PR's, some are just glad to be able to make it across the line. There were a lot of first timers there. I think my race is a great first Ultra. It's shorter than a 50k, not technical, and not too hilly, but still a HUGE change from running a road marathon.

I saw that it was already after 1 pm so I changed back into my shorts. They were cold and wet from the pool and I opted for Brooks Cascadias instead of the Burn racing flat for the extra padding. I hit the trail at about 1:10 pm, 6:10:00 by the race clock. I took the Clock-wise route as I did the previous two laps. I saw a lot of runners that had only a mile or 2 to go and then the trail was empty. It wasn’t as much fun as the first two laps when I was chasing people down. I felt like I was just plodding along. I could feel that my legs were a little stiff and my feet hurt from standing around and running since 4:00 am. Thankfully I saw hardly any trash on the trail to pick up. Maybe 6-7 gel packs or those darn gel tops that seem to fall out of my pocket every time I run.

With about a 2/3 mile to go, I finally came across the last two runners. They were doing great and didn't need anything from me so I went ahead, ran up the last hill for the third and final time and finished my third lap in 1:24. There were still a few people hanging around but most had called it a day.

The day turned out to be a great success. It was a perfect day for running but a little cool for a BBQ. I'll definitely do it again next year.

I want to give a big thanks to Eric & Iliana Sach for the bottles and Socks, Jonathan Bernard for his extra boxes of gels, Laura Houston for the extra water jugs, Chris Nikas for being a great cook, Skagit Runners for the use of their clock, Jane Herzog and her daughter for help out with timing and for the tent, Shawn Lawson for the tent, Josh Lerner for all the free massages, and my wife Jenn for putting up with me and my crazy friends.

Here are a few pictures.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lake Youngs Ultra

Wow time has flown past since my last post.

The Lake Youngs Ultra was a huge success. Two new course records were set.
Brett Winegar at 2:58:39 for the men and Monica Ochs at 3:40:03 for the women.

I managed to squeeze in 3 loops at 1:10,1:14, and 1:24. The last loop as the sweep, I was starting to tighten up but I didn't have to stop and walk any of it. It's a good thing the trail wasn't littered with empty gel packets.

Race results will be posted on the website soon.