Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seattle Triple 2009

Today is the first day the # of marathons completed exceeds my age.

I remember when I used to think a marathon a month was excessive. It was only 14 months ago at the Montana marathon, I was talking with some more seasoned Maniacs about how I was a little worried about completing my first back-to-back marathons. I was referring to the fact that I'd run Nottingham 1 week prior. They were all doing their 2nd of the weekend! I ran a bit with "runningguy" (everyone on the Maniacs site has nicknames), a Canadian who is now retired and travels the world with his wife, doing marathons together (often doubles) nearly every weekend. I'm sure they've done over 100 apiece by now. Being Canadian, he advocated Galloway's run-walk method, which is what the pacers do up there. He even BQ'd walking every 10th minute. I tried that, but just ran even slower and thus felt more tired. The other thing he recommended, is the 10-minute icebath immediately following the race, followed by 2 hour brisk walk.

I figured I'd do a double (2 marathons in 2 days) someday, but it never happened. It wasn't just about the fact that just one marathon still hurts a lot (every time I finish, I think either, "now, go swim 2.4 miles and bike 112" or, "now run another one", in homage to Ironmen and ultrarunners). It was mainly logistical. Most marathons require you to go to the expo the day before to pick up your packet, and rarely are there 2 marathons in the same city the same weekend, so you'd have to spend 3 days off and travel to another state (i.e. be retired and independently wealthy, or at least a network of friends to pick up your packets and have a really good travel agent). Or, if you don't care about getting "credit", you could just do a 100k training "fun run" between your 100-150 mile races, like Van "Pigtails" Phan does.

Previously I had relied on to plan my race schedule, but I realized there was a goldmine of local small runs, mainly ultras, on the Marathon Maniacs site. That's how I heard about the Wishbone run, a 28 mile trail ultra advertised as the "first run of the seattle triple". I knew Seattle had a double, many races have a "ghost" marathon the day before just for those nuts who don't get enough for one marathon in a weekend, but the triple is more rare. I initially signed up for the Wishbone, thinking I'd have Saturday to recover for the actual Seattle marathon. Then I signed up for the Ghost Half, thinking, well, it's ONLY a half... then I realized, well, if I'm going to look/ feel like mincemeat the cat just dragged in ANYWAY, may as well go for the whole triple. It's the only logical solution. You can't just stop at 2-1/2M when there's a triple in your face.

Today was the Wishbone Ultra, a 27.8 mile trail run in the Crescent Forest in Gig Harbor. Luckily I started early because I got lost twice and it took me 90 min to get there; iPhone told me to take a road that no longer exists. Anyway, it was a perfect, cool cloudy northwest day in the mid-40's. There were probably 30-40 people there, nearly all doing the triple, nearly all Maniacs. Lots of familiar faces, and new faces whose names I recognized from the Maniacs site, with names like, "Roadkill" and "EatDrinkRunWoman". .

I was "smart" and wore my trail shoes this time, even spent 50 miles breaking them in. It was 4 x 7 mile loops shaped like a figure 8 through the forest. As advertised, the path was well-marked, but I still managed to miss the first turn off and do an extra 1/4 mile or so before I saw runners going the other way and realized I had made a wrong turn. As advertised there were a few "small patches" of watery mud from the rain the day before. I asked Roadkill, who has done over 222 marathons in the last 30 years, how ultrarunners keep their feet dry. His answer? They don't. Sometimes you have a creek in front of you and no bridge, the only downside is that the water is 35 degrees and you have 8 more hours to run in wet socks. Then there was the woodchips getting inside my wet shoes every 5 seconds. EatDrinkRunWoman (so named because she is a personal chef) advised me to invest in some DGGs (Dirty Girl Gaiters). She cautioned me not to forget to type in the "gaiters" or I'd be getting a whole nuther set of web links unrelated to trail running. She had done the double last year and advised me to eat as much as possible immediately after the race (no problems there). Note to self, long tights much better than knickers for avoiding scratchy shrubbery.

The first 2 loops were a real Zen experience. Cool, quiet, nothing but me and the trees. The arrows at the figure 8 crossing pointed to the first (left) and second (right) loops. Naturally it made me halt in my tracks and think about my life. Which loop was I on? Which way should I go? If only there were arrows in my daily life that would tell me where to go...

I had the pleasure of meeting the famous Larry Macon, Guiness Book of World Records Holder for most marathons in a year (105 last year at the age of 64, total of around 600 lifetime marathons), who is every bit the cheerful and unassuming guy he seems on the video. Check out this runner's world video:,8052,s6-21-0-7,00.html?bcpid=2888992001&bclid=1508311825&bctid=26423738001

Even though I was way behind 90% of the group, I did manage to get some huckleberry pancakes (YUM) before the 4th loop. I think I finished 4th to last with a time of 5:46:40. My ankles were pretty sore and there was a large hotspot on my right arch, but I think the legs are OK. The ice bath sure hurt, even though I made sure to add the ice after getting into the tub. Now I'm good to go for marathon #2, which starts in less than 3 hours.

1 comment: