Monday, May 11, 2009

Kirkland Half Marathon

I debated back and fourth about whether I wanted to pay $65 to run a distance I could run on my own and that wasn’t giving out finishers medals. I decided to go ahead and do it anyway since I love the challenge of doing better on a course than I have before.
This course I did 2 years ago and to this date is STILL my best half marathon time despite it NOT being the easiest or flattest. My personal best from two years ago is 1:33:47 and I have consistently run 1:35:00 +/- many times.
This race starts at sea level and rises in elevation 600 feet from miles 3-6, then comes back down to sea level in miles 7-9. So you do get to make back that time lost going up the hill, but coming back down at 6:45 pace really hurts your body for that last 4 miles after.
Things went pretty well, but not doing any speed work for over a year due to training my body to run just below 8:00 pace for 26.2 miles took its toll. I should have made up more time in the first two miles, but I just plain wasn’t in a groove yet. I did pretty well on the hill, running a 7:42 and 7:22 going up that hill. Wow, that’s pretty good actually, but maybe it wore me out. I had to stop to pee at mile 6, which actually was my slowest mile @ 7:49, even though it was FLAT. Peeing takes time off of a race, and every second counts.
Another reason I ran the race instead of doing speed work on my own on a flat trail was the competition makes me run faster. At mile 2 a female runner bolted in front of me that I perceived to be going out to fast for her body type. It’s just the male ego I’m sure, but when I put so much hard work into my running it’s hard to see someone that appears to be in less fit shape ahead of me. I sometimes also forget that she is also probably 10-15 years younger than me. Just being honest, I didn’t want her beating me. I thought maybe I’d catch her on the hill, which I almost did, but the peeing slowed my pursuit. Miles 11-12 I saw my gap closing and it helped me run faster. I was no longer monitoring my overall pace which had dropped to 7:21, but chasing her down and my normal overall kick dropped it to 7:15 by the time I hit the finish mat with 1:34:56, just one minute and nine second slower than two years ago. I ran a 6:48 final mile thanks to chasing her down and pushing when I saw my watch click to 1:33:00. My pace in the last .10 was 6:08.
I did pass her at mile 12.5, but for all I know her chip time could have been better. Didn’t matter, competition is why I enter races. I also passed 15 or so runners in the last few miles that went out to fast or had no kick. I finished 58th out of 1,104 runners. I was 7th out of the 100 males aged 40-44.
Here are my splits, you can compare them to the elevation chart below.
7:18, 7:05, 7:41, 7:22, 7:29, 7:49, 7:18, 6:42, 6:55, 7:08, 7:27, 7:25, 6:48, 0:30.
I should also mention it was Mothers Day, and it was nice to run on Mothers Day, for without my mom, I’d never have inherited all the drive and talent to run so well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Eugene Marathon

Jenni and I headed off to Eugene on Thursday night to drive halfway down and then drive the rest of the way Friday morning.
The trip down had it’s normal ups and downs but after spending the night at the rest stop we somehow locked ourselves out of the RV. It wasn’t really locked, but the door was jammed. After a brief freak-out by Brad, I was opening the window to shove Jenni in through. It was stressful as the RV was started and warming up for the final leg down to Eugene.
We arrived in Eugene Friday afternoon and our first real stop was Nike. Talk about the coolest Nike you could walk into. Huge display of actual 1970’s running artifacts from the beginning of Nike including Steve Prefontaine’s actual track shoe that Bowerman made for him. To cool, even the waffle irons that made the first shoes.
I had looked at a cool pair of Nike Lunar trainers online and even had a pair the were SUPPOSED to have arrived Thursday night (Thanks UPS, you suck). So feeling inspired by the birthplace of Nike, I purchased a pair of BLACK Lunars. The ones that were being sent were white and not so cool anyway. These new black ones looked way cool with all my black skull and crossbones gear. Plus once I tried them on, the 10.5’s fit better than the 10.0’s that were being sent. 26.2 in a shoe I’d never even run in seamed more doable in a larger shoe.
Next stop was the expo over at the Hilton. Very cool expo with not a bunch of “junk” vendors as I call them. Some expos are full of needless junk. This one had nice items and quality items for sale. I picked up a DVD of “Fire on the Track”, the Prefontaine story. INCREDIBLE DVD. As I was headed out of the expo I noticed a both with a Prefontaine painting that wasn’t really that good, but for some reason I stopped to look. Not sure who the paintings artist was, so I started reading the info. The items at this both were not made by the seller, but the sellers name made me take notice. The both was being run by none other than Linda Prefontaine, Steve’s sister!!! That was to cool and very unexpected.
I think I was getting more excited for this race than I was for my first marathon. The combo of Pre’s running Mecca and a flat course for a BQ attempt was to much…….
Next stop……. Pre’s rock where he wrecked his car and died. At this point where Steve died there is a memorial set up were tons of people come and leave race bib numbers and medals or flowers. I had told people I was going to run the mile and a quarter to it and leave my bib there if I qualified for Boston. Not knowing the route, it seamed like a good idea. Maybe I don’t want to BQ here…….. the route was pretty much straight up a 6-7 grade. It went up about 300 feet in ¾ mile. If you are standing at Hayward Field, the track he ran one and the start finish line for the race, you just head straight down 15th and make the turn at the end of the road and turn left up the hill where you see the street sign that says “Pre’s Rock”. Me and Jenni put on our gear and jogged up to the memorial. We took some cool pictures and I analyzed the road, noting how steep and winding it was. I could see how a 25 year old in his little MG could crash here no matter if he was run off the road or just driving to fast. The fact that is was a convertible made it easy to flip and then crush him. So sad. I then realized I had forgot the memento I wanted to leave there. We ran back down so I could get it and I went back up it alone. After dropping off one of my skull and crossbones makeshift wristbands (taken from the tops of my old socks) I said my peace and headed down the hill to check out Hayward Field where Pre and countless other incredible Oregon runners had made history. I walked right out onto the field and started taking pictures right along side the current Oregon Track team.
Saturday was spent pretty much hanging out with Jenni and her dog/co-pilot August. We headed into the small town (3 blocks) of Colburg where we were staying, and wouldn’t you know it, it had 5 antique stores out of 8 stores that make up the “city”. Jenni has a home full of 50’s and 60’s furniture. You could pretty much film a period movie in her condo. I spotted a very cool handbag for her, and she found some other cool items. I’m glad the trip wasn’t 100% all about me.
Saturday night it started raining………. Whatever, not going to let it bother me, not this race.
I’m not sure why, but the more races I run, the more I am concentrating on my race and not little things you hear about in race reports. It was hard not to notice things here though, such a nice running town. Mile 1 was to slow for running with the 3:20:00 pace group. Mile 2 I saw a cute Greyhound with 3 legs. Jenni’s dog August is part Greyhound part German Shepard. Miles 3 and 6 were supposed to be the only hills on the elevation chart so I braced for them and had planned to make sure and not fall back from my pace group. About mile 8 I asked a guy near me if he had run this before. He had. He said the hills were at mile 3 and 6……. UH, those were “hills”?? In Seattle we call that an “incline”. To funny. That was a good sign for BQ.
Lets just cut to the chase, I was running in a crazy beautiful greenbelt of running trails along the river, it didn’t really rain very hard, and the sun even poked out. The crowd support was good. I saw Jenni at mile 17 and she took a few pics as I passed, and I told her I loved her as I did at mile 16 of Whidbey. I had hit my ½ split just shy of on time (1:40:35) but now knew I’d have to run an even split or negative to come away with a BQ. This fact I knew ahead of time, if I wanted to BQ I should have went out AHEAD of pace knowing I always slow down a little bit flat or not. So I told myself good job and just hold onto a PR. I knew I was not doing well when I lost my sense of humor. I am always having a good time on the outside as shown in my mile 17 pic, even if I am hurting. But at mile 24-25 I saw a table with some "dudes" that had tiny paper cups full of BEER. They were yelling "Ice cold Beer here", as if they were beer vendors. I didn't laugh, I didn't say a thing, I didn't even think at all. Usually I can laugh hard on the inside. Nope, just not having fun at all. It's at these times when you wanna quit all together. I laugh NOW, that was damn funny of them.With 3 miles left I knew all I had to do was run 8:00 pace after running 7:48 up until that and I’d come under 3:25:00. Well mile 24 was ok with 8:05, but somehow I just lost steam and mile 25 was 8:23 and even though I “felt” faster for mile 26 it was really only 8:29……… I think the clock said 3:25:02 so I was happy knowing it took me 25 seconds to hit the start line and my chip time would be under that.
Well the fact is that after running 26.2 miles, a 5 and a 6 look pretty similar! It was 3:26:02 and my chip time was 3:25:23.
Found Jenni, gave her a salty kiss and got some food. Growing up I ran track with some incredible runners at Redmond High. I had been following one friend Shelly who was a sprinter back then but now runs marathons as well, and FAST. She ran 3:38:xx at Boston and HAD a PR of 3:36:xx. I say had because today she ran 3:33:xx. Great work. I knew she’d be there, but with 5,000 runners never thought I’d see her. Well I milled around in the recovery area long enough for her to come in 8 minutes behind me and she saw me there. It was nice to see her after 23 years.
We then walked about two miles to the RV and set off home. 5 hours of driving was not a big deal when you have a house on wheels. I could hit the fridge and the bathroom at will, and laid on the couch and stared at Jenni’s green eyes in the rear view mirror.
Here are the stats…….
5k split 23:43
10k split 47:17
13.1 split 1:40:35
30k split 2:25:20
40k split 3:12:51
Finish 3:25:23
Finished in 237th place out of 1715 men and women.
Men’s Division 40-44 35th out of 158.
By mile………
7:55 / 7:26 / 7:38 / 7:40 / 7:47 / 7:25 / 7:28 / 7:47 / 7:38 / 7:45 / 7:48 / 7:54 / 7:48 / 7:58 / 7:51 / 7:52 / 8:07 / 7:49 / 7:54 / 7 :39 / 7:43 / 7:49 / 7:59 / 8:05 / 8:29 / 8:23
So there it is, 2 years and 5 months after my first marathon and here are my observations about my improvements.
My first Marathon was 3:49:43, 24:20 slower. That is almost a full minute per mile improvement. 8:46 pace down to 7:50.
My splits yesterday were 1:40:35 and 1:44:48.
The first two races I ran 2 years and 10 months ago were 1/2 marathons. My times were 1:43:35 and then 1:40:50. Adding up my first two half marathon times you almost end up with my current marathon time. 3:24:25 vs. 3:25:23.