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:


joerunner said...

Steve, your training leading up to Pac Rim has been superb. Your going to do great. See you there.

Bret said...

Hey Steve! Isn't that little park a great place to run? I stay in Seattle about 5 to 10 nights a month for the last 15 years. Never knew that area was a park. Just found it about a year ago. I love running in there. I rarely see anyone at all.
Hey did I hear you got 105 miles in at Pac Rim? If so, congrats! Did Tim end up ok? Rough luck for him.

CLanterman said...

Hey Steve,
I randomly ran across your site. I'm an accountant in the Seattle area who is going to be running his first half marathon on May 10th, and thought your blog was cool because of yoru similarities to me. Anyways, good luck with your running.

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Kent said...

Just ran across your site, and thought you might be interested in the new Mark Driscoll Sermon Archive from Logos Bible Software. You can check it out here: Mark Driscoll Sermon Archive