Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Doubling up Seattle

In 2005 I started running marathons. After my first in June and my first ultra in July. I was hooked! I was looking ahead to the rest of the year, and planned to run Seattle. After a bad run at Tahoe (or a least I made so many rookie mistakes). I ran Seattle, looking for a strong run. I PRed by 26 minutes. I have always enjoyed Seattle. Last year was a bad weather year, but being a late November marathon, what should you expect.

Last year I found out about the "Ghost of Seattle marathon". I wanted to run it, but I realized I wasn't ready for a double. So I trained for my first double in August, which was Crater Lake and Haulin' Aspen. That double is considered by most to be the hardest you can find. (at least in the northwest). After running that double I decided to train for a 50 miler, which I did (Autumn Leaves). And now just three weeks later looked to do the "Seattle Double".

My sister, Julia, and I drove up to Seattle on Friday afternoon. We stayed at the Green Tortoise hostel at Pike Place. It's an okay hostel, but just a little loud at night. We went to the expo so I could get my stuff on Friday evening. We had little dinner and got a good nights sleep.

I woke up at 6am, had my devotions and got ready for the first marathon of the weekend. Julia came with me. She wanted to run the half, but was not doing it in an official way, instead just wanted to run on her own. We left at 7am, and arrived at Mount Baker, by 7:30am. Not too many were there, but I did see Monte Pascual and Brian Pendelton.

It was chilly with temperatures about 37°, I started off by running with Eric Barnes and Jon Mahoney, we ran around Seward Park, and I let them run on ahead. I was looking to run a nice slow steady pace. It was my first marathon running with my heart rate monitor. It was fun to see so many Maniacs enjoying a nice day on Lake Washington. I saw Ray Shaw, Jon Yoon, Eric Barnes, Michelle Barnes, Jenny Appel, tc, Robert Lopez, Van Phan, Jon Mahoney, Jess Mullen, Monte Pascual, Brian Pendleton, and Stan Nakashima.

In the first time around I ran the first half in 1:51:51, which I thought was a half marathon. Later I found out the course was about a mile short, so this first half was only about12½ miles. In the second half I felt pretty good, I finished the 25 mile marathon in 3:47:17. Being that the course was only 25 miles, should I count it? Well I do. For two reasons. First, it's marketed as a marathon, so that is what I take it to be. Secondly, The original marathon in 1896 was 40k or 24.8 miles, so a 25 mile run is the old marathon distance.

So to recap this first day, I ran a 3:47:17 in 25 miles, this is about a 9:05 pace. So that means my marathon time would be about 3:57:59. My heart rate averaged 147, with a peak of 165, and a low of 100. I also burned 3,590 calories. The best way to describe this is that it feels a lot like a training run. It's a fun run, and very well organized.

My sister got confused with the course and ended up pulling her butt muscle. So waited around for me and We drove back to the hostel. My parents drove up on Saturday afternoon. We went to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. I was quite tired and ended up going to bed by 10pm.

On Sunday morning, I once again got up at 6am, had my devotions and got ready. I got my stuff together and checked out by 7am. I then walked over to the Seattle Center for the race start. I left the hostel by 7:30am. I met someone at the hostel who was also doing the marathon. He was a nice guy. I ended up walking with him to the start.

It was chilly but not as bad with temperatures about 43°, with clear and sunny skies. I wanted to finished and have a good time. But I also wanted to run under 4 hours if possible. So I started out with the 4 hour group. Just before the start I had a chance to talk with Marilou Russell for a few minutes.

When the race started I just took my time as we headed out of downtown Seattle. I was running a very good pace, and didn't feel that bad. I wasn't that sore and was able to run 8:30 miles. During the I-90 out-and-back, I saw many Maniacs. It was nice and took my mind off the race. I saw the following Maniacs, Bob Dolphin, Ray Shaw, Barefoot Jon, Mary Latta, Robert Lopez, Little Leslie, Monte Pascual, Steve Yee, Chris Warren, Tony Phillippi, and Annie Thiesson.

By mile seven I came up to a pacing group and decided to stick with them for a while. I realized that it was the 3:40 group. By mile 10 I knew that I could not stay at this pace, but I wanted to stay with them as long as possible. I ran the first half in 1:51:21 (8:30 pace). I knew the second half would be a different situation.
My goal was still to run a 4 hour marathon. By mile 16, (with 10 miles to go) I was at 2:17:39, I was looking to run 10 min/miles or faster. I was running 9:00-9:30 paces. I finished with a time of 3:53:41 (8:55 pace).

I was so happy to have finished in under 4 hours. I still have not run a road marathon in more then 4:00:30. I had an average heart rate of 144, with a peak of 162, and a low of 121, and burned 3,560 calories.

I walked back to the hostel and we drove home. We ran into a lot of traffic on the way home, but really enjoyed the weekend. The Seattle Marathon is one of my top two favorite marathons. I look forward to doing this again next year.

Saturday = 3:47:17 (9:05 pace) for 25 miles, but 3:57:59 adjusted time

Sunday = 3:53:41 (8:55 pace)

Total = 7:40:58 (9:00 pace) for 51.2 miles (adjuested time is 7:51:40)

Check out my splits.
[page 1], [page 2], [page 3]

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Midnight Run in the Rain

I have really caught the running/marathoning bug. In August I ran my first double, then trained for my first 50 miler this month at Autumn Leaves. So what's next? I want to try to do Where's Waldo 100k in August 2008, but also would like to run the Pacific Rim 24 hour in March. My friend Tim Lawson (Maniac #409) is running the Ultracentric 24 hour race today. He has motivated me to look toward my goal.

I figure with just four months to go I should start preparing for it. So each month I plan to do something. This month I'm starting by getting used to staying up late and running in the middle of the night. So this morning, I went down to a wonderful park less than a quarter of a mile from my house, where there is a paved one mile loop. Since Pacific Rim will be a one mile loop, this is perfect preparation. So here's my report:

I started out by packing some aid. I put a plastic bag with water, fruit and some dry socks and put it under a picnic table. It had been raining all day long on Friday, so I was getting ready to run in the rain. I had my reflective vest and my flashlight and was ready to go.

On Monday at the Portland Running Company group run, I had won a free heart rate monitor. This is just a wonderful "toy" for me. It gives me even more statistics to track in my running. I had it on and was ready to go.

I first told myself that I wanted to run at least 20 miles. I had set for myself a limit of four hours. After having worked from 11am until 8pm. I wanted to get in a good four hours and call it a day. I had been up since 7am so I was looking at 21 hours at 4am. So I thought to myself if I run 20-24 miles I'll be happy. My new heart rate monitor holds up to 27 laps, so I really didn't want to do any more then that. The loop around the lake is 0.9853 miles. Here is a map. I figured 27 laps would be 26.6 miles (just over a marathon), that was my limit.

When I started, it was dry. But not for long, that only lasted about 3-4 loops. Then it started with a light rain and got worse. Fortunately, the heavy rain didn't start until 3am. But a lot of light rain adds up. The temperature was nice at 48°.

I was all ready for the dark, but quickly found that The street lights and house lights added enough light for me. I rarely used my LED flashlight and was just able to run. It was interesting to see few people walking there dogs in the first hour. After that I saw only one person, he was a teenage boy who was under the covered area. It looked like he may have been locked out of his house or something. He fell asleep on the picnic tables.

I started out in a nice pace in the 8:40's. I was just cruising, and was enjoying the night. When I got to lap 13, I felt like I needed some liquids and a little something to eat. So I stopped and drank some Gleukos and had a few Shot Bloks. By this time it was about 1:54am. I was on track to get at least 26 laps.

I then kept going, after lap #15, I was feeling like I wanted to slow down, but something inside me wanted to keep going. I tried to keep it up until lap 20, which I figured would be at 3am. Then I would slow down the last hour and finish with 25-26 laps. So I did. I ran 20 laps (19.71 miles) in 2:58:30. This meant I had about an hour to run 5-6 more laps. I keep going, but was slowing. I was running about 9:30's those last 6 laps. I finished at 3:58am, with 26 laps (or 25.62 miles). I was happy to get the mileage in and was so happy to go home and get dry.

Next month, Tim and I plan to run on Dec 22, round this some lake. We will be running for nine hours in what I like to call the Winter Solstice run. We will run from sunrise to sunset on the shortest day of the year. I look forward to it. But before that I have a double in Seattle next weekend, and the Christmas Marathon (Dec 16).

Happy Running!

If you would like to look at my splits, here is the statistics. [PDF]

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My first 50 miler: Autumn Leaves 2007

Yesterday I ran my first 50 miler (I'm sure it will not be my last). It was the Autumn Leaves 50 miler. I have so much to say about it.

I left my house at 4:45am and drove to Champoeg for the start at 6:00am. It was cold and dark. The loop was changed so it was just 4.9 miles and a 1.2 mile out-and-back was added.
The first full loop was all in the dark. At one point, myself and another runner got off the course, but found our way back quickly.

But going into the second loop I ran with Karen Wiggins for about a mile, which was nice to chat with her. Later in the third loop I ran with Marilou Russell. I also saw so many Maniacs along the course like Eric Barnes, Bret Henry, Rick Smith, Gail Philips, Robert Lopez, Marc Frommer, Little Leslie, and many more. Since there is a stretch of about 1.5 miles in the middle of each loop, I saw them many times.

I started slower and then got into a groove after the sun came up. For the first half I felt great. After five loops, I had run 26 miles and did it in 4:32:35 (10:29 pace). I felt like it would be nice to keep up the pace. But I knew I would be slowing down at some point. My goal at that point was to try to keep it up as long as possible.

Since I did the early start I was parked in the lot near the start, which is long the course. So after each loop I could stop at my car for aid. It's a nice race to be your first 50 miler, because the aid is very good. In each loop you have three stops at two aid stations. I of course did not stop at each possible stop. But it's nice to have.

After seven loops I was still feeling good, but at that point my times dropped. I was averaging about 52:36 per loop, but in the last three loops I averaged 1:01:13. In loop #8, I ran in 57:17, which I did not walk, just ran slow. But in the last two laps I was running/walking. Loop #9, was 1:01:58, and loop#10 was 1:04:24.

I was happy to finish in under 10 hours, and was trying to finish in under 9:30 if possible. Which I did. I would highly recommend this race to any ultra or marathoner. If you get get your head around doing either 6 or 10 loops. It's very well organized and just a great race. Here were my splits:

1 - 12:04 (1.2mi)
- 10:03 pace
2 - 56:19 (5.15mi)
- 10:56 pace
3 - 53:17 (4.95
mi) - 10:46 pace
4 - 49:38 (4.9mi) - 10:08 pace
5 - 49:12 (4.9
mi) - 10:03 pace
6 - 52:03 (4.9
mi) - 10:38 pace
7 - 52:43 (4.9
mi) - 10:46 pace
8 - 53:51 (4.9
mi) - 10:59 pace
9 - 57:17 (4.9mi) - 11:41 pace
10 - 61:58 (4.9
mi) - 12:39 pace
11 - 64:24 (4.9
mi) - 13:09 pace

I ran a total of 50.5 miles, which is partly my fault for getting of course a little, but the race distance was a total of 50.2 miles. I look forward to my next 50 miler (maybe this spring).