Sunday, December 5, 2010

Seattle Marathon 11/28/10

Repeat of Washington State
Finish Time 4:29:02

Heading into this race I was not sure about how things would pan out 1 week after a 50 mile race, the JFK 50. I spent the first 2 days after JFK sleeping any minute of the day that I did not need to be at work, I was drained physically and certainly mentally. Either I would be really slow for this marathon or run about as I usually do, in the neighborhood of 4.5 hours. This was to be an experiment.

Now growing up in Seattle, a tradition of sorts was to run the Seattle Half Marathon, always the Sunday after Thanksgiving, it was a few weeks after cross country season had finished so I was still in shape but not having any upcoming races to train for, I had run the half 5-6 times previously, and it always rained on that day. One memorable half was in 2001, and like several other Americans took the call to donate blood after 9-11. I donated 1 week prior to the race at school, turns out you end up building lactic acid really quickly when you do this, lesson learned although I still donate blood but have not been able to in the last few years due to my trips to Haiti, and currently due to my sometimes excessive running.

Start of the Marathon

This is an interesting race as you get to run on the I-90 express lanes, go through the tunnel and an out and back on the floating bridge.  Despite living in the area for a while, I had never previously been to Seward Park, a little peninsula jutting out into Lake Washington. During the race I would be setting foot for the first time in the park during the race at about the half marathon mark. Weather is usually a factor in this race, but we ended up lucking out with the one day of no rain this week. It was in the upper 30’s to low 40’s, overcast with sun breaks, perfect for running.

This weekend was also a Marathon Maniac reunion of sorts, as they had the Quadzilla organized, wherein there are 4 marathons in the Seattle area in a row, starting Thursday and culminating with the Seattle Marathon on Sunday. Some people did all 4, others did 3 “Turkey Triple” or 2 “Seattle Double” in a row. I pondered doing the double but the JFK had drained me and the time change usually zaps my energy as well when I travel to Seattle, so I opted out and took a mid morning nap instead. So there were several Marathon Maniacs out running the Seattle Marathon, I heard 26 people attempted this feat, fitting number I felt.

A few good spectator signs along the course, with my favorites being “Cause 26.3 would be crazy,”  and “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon."  

The expo garnered a few good samples in the goody bags, a nice race shirt as always provided by the Seattle Marathon, a run in with a high school cross country teammate that I had not seen for over 10 years running her first marathon, and a talk by ultrarunning god Scott Jurek. He spoke Saturday afternoon and spent about 25 minutes talking about his amazing races over the last 10 years, then he spent about 20 minutes talking about his Vegan diet and racing diet in general terms, basically he was there to ultimately promote his sponsor Udo’s Oil an Omega 3-6-9 supplement. He emphasized several times that he is very picky about who he chooses to endorse and that Udo’s oil meets his standard, they also gave out samples and technical beanie hats and I learned they are based out of Lynden, WA. I ran within a few inches of him twice at White River 50 this past July (and his girlfriend only beat me by 50 minutes). He was very well spoken and has some very educated insight into trail running and nutrition.

Around mile 14 as we were leaving Seward Park, I start to chat with the lady running next to me, with her having to take out her headphones to hear me. “How was your Thanksgiving?” I start. We end up running together and chatting for the next 3-4 miles until I stop to visit my parents cheering with bright pink signs on the course, I also handed them my gloves that I had taken off about 10 miles earlier and my long sleeve shirt I had taken off 5 miles earlier. About 6 miles and an hour later I catch back up to her and I am slowly picking up my pace. I had felt strong on the hills leaving the lake and leaving the Arboretum, I tell her I am trying to break 4:30. She responds with an exasperated “that would be great if I broke 4:30,” “OK, stay with me.” I share with her what to expect with the route before we approach each section and she keeps up with me, this is her second marathon, the first being last month on 10-10-10 in Portland, OR. We take the turn that brings us to cross I-5 the 3rd and last time and head back to the Space Needle and the finish in the stadium, I lose her on the downhill and see her again after the finish line about 20-30 seconds back, I congratulate her and give her a hug, she thanks me. I never think to ask her name, oh well.

I wander into the fieldhouse after a short uphill, got some delicious soup, a banana and Gatorade. I almost crash the Quadzilla Marathon Maniac photo, but the president approached me a minute later to get a picture of me, there are maniacs everywhere, nice to see.
Vashon Island. Traffic is light and we make good time to the ferry and home. Straight to the shower, compression socks on, sit in a lazy boy chair and dive into a bag of salt and vinegar chips. To keep with my East Coast sleep schedule, I head to bed at 6pm local time and wake up at 3am local time without an alarm. At the airport the next morning I partake in an Ivar’s white clam chowder bread bowl for breakfast, yummy! Long delay in Atlanta, then eventually home to my own bed.

Recovery Meal in the Seattle Airport
Lesson Learned: While marathons are mentally tough, compared to 50 milers they require significantly less mental energy to stay present and get to the finish line with a decent time, one could say they are easy in comparison, but not as easy as sitting in the lazyboy at home. But, I would rather be out running.

Enjoying a cup of soup after the finish (Credit:Steven Yee's Facebook Page)

Up next: To Hellgate or Not to Hellgate. That is the question.

1 comment:

  1. You are seriously hard core! I'm totally impressed (and maybe a little jealous). Great job.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!