Monday, March 31, 2008

A Dizzy Daze PR!

In the past few months, and the last few weeks, some would say that I have gotten a little "loopy". Well my race this weekend was in Seattle at Green Lake. It was 10 laps around Green Lake for 32 miles, which is a little more than a 50k.

I wanted to find a way to cut the cost of my races as much as possible. With the cost of gas around $3.30-$3.50 I want to get my races in cheaper. So instead of driving up on Friday, I decided to drive to Olympia and spend the night in car, then drive the rest of the way. It worked out well. I slept at the rest stop at mile marker 95 on I-5. It was cold and I woke up about every 3 hours or so.

I arrived at Green Lake about 6:20am. The race was set to start at 7am. I check in got my bib. It was nice to so many other Maniacs. I even saw tc, who ran at Pacific Rim two weeks ago. He was going to do the 100k, which made me wonder if I should have, but I thought a 50k would be smarter.
My goal for this race was to set a 50k PR. It's a flat road course. So I thought to myself, "if I can run at the same speed as a road marathon and hold it for another five miles, I could run between 4:30-4:50."

So that is what I did!
In the first lap, I started out strong. Each loop was 3.2 miles. I ran it in 27:52, which was 8:43 pace. I remember thinking that if I keep this pace up I could run a 4:40 race. I seemed to be in the front of the pack which kind of made me wonder if I was running to fast.

In the second loop, I ran even faster. The weather was great, and I was just enjoying the day. In some ways I figured this was just a marathon. I ran in 26:21 (8:14 pace). In lap three I ran a 27:23 (8:33 pace) on track for a 3:43 marathon which is average for me. Leading up to the half way point I ran 25:52 in lap 4, and 26:06 in lap five. This gave me a 2:13:33 first half. There was only one person in front of me. We finished the first half together, but he was still running strong. I knew I couldn't keep it up. So I let him run ahead.

In the second half, I just kept running strong. I was passing the other runners right and left. I was running between 27 and 30 minute loops. I ended up with a marathon split of 3:43:11 (8:31 pace). I ran the second half in 2:22:14 (8:53 pace). I ended up with a time of 4:35:47, which was within my range of 4:30-4:50. I finished in second place to Jake Lin.

I stuck around for hours helping out with recording times, and helping the other runners. I left after Jonathan Bernard finished his 100k in 11:30. It was a fun day, and enjoyed it all.

I then drove to downtown Seattle and checked into the hostel. I spent the night there and attended Mars Hill on Sunday morning. Then I drove home.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pacific Rim 24 hour Race

I had a fun weekend. I know that I have started my last four logs the same way, but it's true. This weekend Tim Lawson and I took part in the Pacific Rim One Day Race in Longview, WA. Months ago, I looked at this race, and thought it would be fun to run a 100k. But after talking to Tim, I realized that running 24 hours was not out of the question.

That said in November I decided to start training. In addition to my normal marathons, I would do one long run a month. (When I say long, it really means "crazy long")

November 17 - Midnight to 4am - 25.62 miles
December 22 - sunrise to sunset (9 hrs) - 50.65 miles
January 18 - 12 hours - 64.15 miles
February 16-17 - every other hour from 10pm until 7am - 34.48 miles

I felt like this would be good training, because each of these runs were at Summerlake Park, which has a one mile loop, just like Pacific Rim.

On Friday, I got everything together and ready to go for Saturday. I knew that since I would be up for over 24 hours, I would need to get everything ready the night before. So on Saturday, I woke up at 6am, had my devotions and got ready to leave. I picked up Tim about 6:50. We then drove the 61 miles to Longview, which only took about 55 minutes. Once we got there we parked and checked in.

My goal was very simple, Run 100 miles. I thought about running 105 (4 marathons), but just wanted to reach 100 miles. Tim on the other hand, had very high goals. He wanted to run 200k (124.28 miles), on the drive up we talked a lot about our goals and ways to achieve them.

Before the start we started to set up a small tent that we could put our own aide in and to change cloths. But the city of Longview would not allow tents in the city, so we had to put of stuff in the tent but did not set in up. As I looked around I noticed that others would have coolers and tables for their aide. In the future I would bring a cooler instead of a box. Others had trailers or RVs.

The weather forecasted was to be wet. It rained most of the way up, and I was hoping for the best. When the race started (it was overcast and cool in the 40's). I felt really good and just felt like running. I knew that I was in for a long (very long) run. But in the start with the sun peaking through the clouds, I felt great. The first 12 miles I was running fast and having fun. I was hanging in with the two other leaders and was running about a 8:30 mile. But I knew I could not (and should not) keep it going. I saw me and warned me to take walking breaks. So in mile 13 I hung back and stayed with Tim. We ended up running together for the next 51 miles.

As we ran we would take a walking break at the beginning of each mile. We ran 9-10 minute miles for the next 15 miles. When we reached the marathon marker we had a time of 4:03:18, which was nice, but we slowed down after that. In the next five miles, I knew there would be a chance that I could set a 50k PR. So I told Tim that my PR was 4:59:31. So we keep pushing and finished in 4:52:44. I had broken my PR by almost 7 minutes. What a great feeling.

To reach my goals of 100 or 105 miles, I had three goals.
1) Run 50 miles within 10 hours
2) Run 100k in the first 12 hours
3) Reach 100 miles by 7am (sunrise)
Tim on the other hand had higher goals. He wanted 50 miles in 8 hours, 100k in 10.5 miles, and 100 miles within 16-17 hours. So my goal was to stay with him for as long as I could (or as long as I felt comfortable).

In the next 19 miles, we ran a comfortable pace of 11:40 miles. Tim’s legs cramped up a few times. This ended with at the 50 mile mark at 8:33:33, which was about a half hour more than Tim's goal, but a huge PR for us. I broke my PR by 49 minutes. I was thrilled and enjoyed the time.

But Tim was having some stomach problems, and had a trouble using the bathroom. Things were not looking good for him. We slowed down, walking both sides of the loop, but still managed to do 14:23 miles. At about mile 60, Tim told me that he might drop at 63 miles. This would still give him the 100k. When he told me that I knew things were bad for him. This guy doesn't quite easy. He has run 85 miles on a stress fracture and runs when sick and in pain. I felt bad for him.

This left me at 64 miles in 12 hours and I was now heading into the night hours. This is the most difficult part of a 24 hour race. Your body wants to shut down at night, and you are forcing it to keep going. I slowed down, but kept running parts of the loop.

Between 8:30pm and 5am, I was wiped out! In walking I was starting to fall asleep, but my body couldn't run the whole loop. I was drink Mountain Dew, Diet Coke, and Root Beer, also making GU energy gels, but just couldn't get the caffeine boost. Those 8½ hours dragged on, I slowed down to a 16:48 average pace.

But at 5am, I reached the 150k mark (20:10:02 time). At that time, the caffeine started kicking in. I was also motived being only 6.8 miles from the 100 mile marker. I pushed hard to get there and managed to get to the 100 mile marker before 7am. I finished 100 miles in 21:55:02 (13:09 pace). In those 6.8 miles I averaged a 15:28 pace.

At that point the sun was on the rise and I had two hours left. I knew I was going to keep going, but the pressure was less. I ran/walked the remaining two hours. Not only did I reach my 105 mile goal, but also did two additional miles.

I ended up finishing 107 miles in 23:46:24 (13:20 pace). When done I was so happy to be done, and enjoyed the whole experience. Shortly after the race was over they gave awards to the top ten men. I finished fifth place, and received a nice plague. Tim Englund won the race with 121 miles.

Tim and I packed up our stuff and drove home. I managed to stay up for another hour for the ride home. I got home at 11:40am. At that point I took and nap, and relaxed the rest of the day.

I enjoyed the time, very much. Tim wants to reach his goal of 200k at Ultracentric 24 hour race in November. i told him that I would like to run that if I feel up to it. We will see. For now, I'm going to relax this week and get ready for a wild spring.

Check out my splits and other statistics:

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Des Moines Creek / Mars Hill

What a great weekend! A few weeks ago I found out about the Des Moines Creek 6 hour run in SeaTac. I thought that it would be fun to do a six hour run. I will be doing the Pacific Rim 24 hour race in just two short weeks, and though a six hour run would be a good final test for me.

So in planning my trip, my main goal was to cut the cost down. Being a solid three hour drive south of Seattle, the cost can add up. So I with a start time of 9am, I thought of the idea of driving the morning of the race. Wanting to get there by 8am means that I had to leave at 5am and get up at 4am. That is very early for me, but that would mean I would not have a hostel cost for Friday night. I did decide to stay Saturday night. This is because I wanted to attend Mars Hill Church and see Mark Driscoll preach. More about that later.

I worked the morning shift on Friday, getting off at 5pm. Then I came home and got all my stuff ready before going to bed early. In my preparation, I noticed that the forecast was for rain, so I had to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That meant I had rain gear and extra cloths ready to go. I ended up going to bed about 8:45pm.

I woke up to my alarm at 4am. Not used to getting up that early, I was surprisingly not really tired. I took time to read in my Bible, as I do every day. Then I loaded up my car. I left at 5:05am. I had three hours to get there with another hour before the race start. That means that even with some traffic I should still get there in time for the start. In the drive up I was alone and it was also very dark. I had some Diet Coke to keep we awake and my iPod with music. I ended up getting to SeaTac by about 8:15am. With two stops at rest stops to use the restroom, that is very good timing.

I have never been to SeaTac or the Seattle Airport area. As I am traveling more often to the north for marathons/ultras, I am finding myself getting more familiar with the Seattle area. Maybe I could find an accounting job in the Seattle area, which would be great. Isn't Seattle the "Mecca" of marathoning? I counted there are over 45 marathons and ultras in the northwest, and move 35 are in Washington (mainly Seattle area).

I was Eric Barnes, Monte, Rob Hester, Steve Yee, Van Phan, Marilou Russell, and other familiar faces at the race. Even though I live in Portland, I feel like I'm getting to know so many of the Seattle Maniacs. The weather was chilly, but dry. On the way up it had been raining, but once I got there the clouds were starting to lift and it felt great.

I checked in and got ready to run. The race was off to about a three minute late start, so that meant we would have an extra three minutes at the end. The course was a four mile trail loop that made lots of turns, but the course was very well marked. There was also a short loop of 1.1 miles once you didn't have enough time for a four mile loop. When the race started I was behind Eric and Rob. I tried to keep up, but was starting to fall behind. About half way around the first loop I let them go. I finished with a time of 34:11, that was about ten minutes faster then I was hoping for, but if felt great.

I ended up running again a 36:7 lap the second time. My goal was to run 32 miles or 8 laps, and at that rate I would be running 45 minute laps, so I was off to a great start. The weather was turning out to be beautiful. There was no rain and sun was even shinning.

In the third and fourth loops I ran a bit slower at 39:47 and 41:19. These we both still faster then my 45 minute goal. I even took my camera on one of the loops and set in up to take a picture of me on the course (using the self timer). I wanted a picture of me and knew there wouldn't be any photographer. I realized at that point that many of my fellow Maniacs were not running the full six hours, but instead just getting the marathon mark in.

Heading into the half way point I was running very smooth. I ran 44:09 in the fifth loop, which would end up being my slowest. I ran three more loops to get me to the 32 mile mark. In those three loops I ran 43:36, 43:46, 43:38. I was amazed that each time I finished one the time almost the same. It felt great to be running so consistent.

So know having met my goal of 32 miles, I had 33 minutes left. So I moved to the short loop. Hoping to get two or three loops in. I started out into the first short loop and ended up running it in 12:05. In the second lap I ran fast wondering if it would be my final lap. I ran it in 10:39. Now I had a decision to make, should I go for one more? I had 11 minutes and was wondering how strict they would be about the cut off time. I decided that I was done; I had done 34.14 miles in 5:49:18. That was very fast and fun. I didn't really notice a really slow down. I was happy and enjoyed the post race area.

As I think about it more, and think I should have done one more loop. I know I could have and had enough time, but oh well. I grabbed some tootsie rolls and water and headed out.

Know I headed up to Downtown Seattle. I drove to the Seattle Hostel at Pike's Place. I didn't have a hard time in finding a parking place. But once I got into Seattle it starting raining. But the rain (and hail) was short lived. It was off and on. I walked a block to the hostel. I ended up spending the night working on homework and relaxing. I went to bed about 10pm.

At 6am, I woke up and read in my Bible (started the book of Joshua). It was a good start to a good day. I loaded up my stuff and check out about 7:15. Then ate some breakfast and took off. I left about 7:30 and drove the 15 minutes to Ballard area of Seattle.

Ballard is the main site of Mars Hill Church. I have been listening to Mark Driscoll's sermons for months and have looked forward to seeing him preach. I have heard that parking is bad and that it can get crowded so arrived early (too early). I got there about 8am for the 9am service. I ended up doing a little homework in my car, before going in and finding a spot about 8:30.

Mars Hill is very different from my home church. It's more modern and the style is a bit different. Maybe that is what I like about it. The service started at 9am. There had a few announcements and an opening song. The Discoll come up and spoke. It was so cool to see him preach instead of just listen. I really felt at home at the church, and I know that if I ever get a chance to live in Seattle I will be attending Mars Hill Church.

He spoke on worship and the regulative verses normative principle, then got into what worship is all about. And then touched on the Grace of God. I enjoyed hearing about how God has blessed the church. The Grace of God is amazing. That fact that God, being just and holy would come to earth and give up His only some so that, a sinner like myself could be saved is just amazing! I praise God for people like Mark Driscoll, and Mars Hill for taking on the job of being the Gospel to the city.

I headed back after the service at 10:50. I stopped twice, once in Tumwater for gas and once in Centralia for food at Arby's. I ended up making good time arrived at home at 2:20pm.

It was an awesome weekend; I look forward to the Pacific Rim 24 hour in just two weeks.

Check out my splits/statistics: