Sunday, April 30, 2017

It's never too late (Tacoma City Marathon 4/30/17)

The plan was to ride Vashon Saturday and run TCM Sunday, but 5 days ago I got this email

Pacers Needed

The Tacoma City Marathon & Half Marathon are in need of a few Pacers this weekend. Here are the pacing spots that still need to be filled:



I’ve always wanted to pace a marathon. It’s one of those rites of passage. I can proudly say, I’ve never failed anyone I’ve paced in an ultra but pacing a marathon is different. It is like driving a bus, and people get on and off, you have to be encouraging to all but can't get too committed to a single runner, and there's less wiggle room. I remember following the 4:00 pacer at my first Chicago marathon in 2006, and overhearing her talking about a marathon she had run 2 weeks prior.  Outrageous. But thanks to the Maniacs here I am signing up to pace a week after a 50 miler.

Looking back at my times over the past year, a sobering reality. I barely beat 4:45 when I’m “racing”. And TCM is a hilly course. Another sobering reality, I go to pick up my pacer shirt and I can’t fit in the large. XL it is.

I decide I should bail on Vashon, and instead did a nice 38 mile FLAT ride on the Centennial trail in Snohomish with EG. Holy nostsalgia of BRS rides of the past. It was cold but the pink flowers were out.
Yes, these are twin Ti Davidsons. We “climbed” 458 ft over ~3 hours and talked about “getting the band back together” at the office, while getting some much needed caffeine at the Proper Joe. Sobering reality #3, how my quads felt even this leisurely ride, but it was the right thing to save the legs for pacing.

After the packet pickup at MM “world headquarters” I head to Oly to meet Elmer for pre-race dinner. Listened to my new fave addiction, SYSK podcasts about lying, composting, and other fascinating topics like, “Southerners weren’t ‘lazy’, just infected with hookworms”.  

Went for a short walk and saw a lovely waterfall, feeling the cool spray on my face another nostalgia.

Chef Elmer prepared an amazing carb load with grilled bread from Bread Peddler (with mashed potato on top), scallops, spiced shrimp, corn on cob and salad in wooden bowls, then I balanced a big bowl of buttered Whirleypop popcorn on my belly while watching “Hangover III”. Went to bed ridiculously early on the awesome army cot, woke up 4 AM to start the laborious process of anti-chafing before heading to Tacoma.

We had to wait about an hour outside in the cold before the start. A lot smaller crowd than when I last ran it at the MM reunion, but some familiar faces, like the Prez.

Ran into R., an experienced pacer. I expressed my anxiety, my slowing times, the fact that I didn’t have a garmin. He tried not to look too surprised when I revealed my plan to rely on the paceband taped to the pole, as well as my “internal garmin”. “Good luck with that”.

I was pretty nervous, took off waaaaay too fast. Had no idea what speed I was going but I could see the 4:00 pacer way off in the distance and figured was OK. Then I hit the mile 1 marker at 9:10, a 4:00 pace. “you’re pacing 4:45 not 3:45!” and “you’re ahead of pace!" came from passersby. My reply, “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry”. I slowed down, and by mile 4, I was on pace, but running alone. Not easy to be a bus!

Met up with first time marathoner Amanda, and we ran together about 10 miles, she was actually pulling me along the hills of the 5 mile Pt Defiance loop. She was a former competitive Scottish Highland dancer and she educated me about the differences between Scottish and Irish dancing, and we both confessed a love of blood sausage. We parted ways at the Blues Brothers station, hamming it up and taking photos I got 1 minute behind.

It was a perfect weather day, and I got to try some new race nutrition, Huma energy gel with chia seeds. Yum. Ordered a box immediately on getting home. 

As a serial positive-splitter, I am all too familiar with the sinking sensation of being swept by multiple pace groups, and I felt a little like the grim reaper, carrying a stick with a maniac with cat on head, casting shadows while descending on runners. But chatted with many wonderful people. Met Barry who apparently had run the same distance as I did at Dizzy Daze. “don’t get chicked” was enough to get him running again despite a knee injury.

Got dual medals and chatted a bit with MM PK and Angie,

saw RD tp! and the dude who signs the national anthem, got to cheer on Amanda finishing before heading home with an ice cold diet coke.

I was so glad to finish in 4:44+ but next time I'm getting a garmin. Hopefully I won't run them through the laundry like my last 2 iPods....

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's ON!

I got into RAMROD 2017! Yee haw.
It has been on my bucket list for awhile. OK I just want the jersey.

Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day. It’s a lottery and your chances of getting in are better on a team. A colleague of mine had a 4 person team “Hill yes!” and there was room for a 5th.

I have been skydiving (ok tandem) but it was pretty awesome 

I have done P2P (ok it was just the weasel) but the BRS bucket list does not specify.

But there is no downgrading RAMROD. There is no hiding. Biking hills is what keeps me honest, makes me want to be a better person. Too bad that resolve lasts only about 6 hours.

I was waiting to start training until I got in. Is procrastination a comorbid condition to addictive personalilty? Gotta look that one up sometime. There are 102 training days left. Not enough to fit into a wedding dress, but maybe enough to climb 10,000 ft over 152 miles?

Running was something I could not procrastinate. But humans learn to conserve effort. After nearly 300 marathons/ ultras, I’ve mastered the skill of running slowly, choosing “easy courses”, learned how to cover distances of 50, 100 miles with only the training of the race the weekend before. After a couple 100 mile PRs last fall, I registered for Pigtails 200 (sure, never mind I DNF’d the 150 years ago when I was younger, faster). But I am also the queen of biting off more than I can chew. I TALK big.

This weekend, bike double. Vashon Weenie on Saturday, Zoo hill Sunday. I whined after which Elmer gave me a reality check. From here on I would be known as "RAM-RO".

Met ELMER at the Pt Defiance ferry. I was waaaaay overdressed, expecting the cold/ wet we had become used to but it was a beautiful, warm sunny day. Though we weren't going to do Burma Rd today, it was still a rude awakening. It was considerably harder after another winter off the bike.
We stopped to refuel at the Burton coffee stand, just in front of the Vashon Bike shop (which is in the back of a moving truck). The Burton fog- Earl Grey tea with sweetened steamed milk, genius. I was all too happy to cut the course short (skipped Evil Twin #1) to beat the traffic home.

This morning, my quads already stiff despite the advil. After a big breakfast at Glos (my favorite thing in the world),
it was hard to breathe, my clothes were uncomfortably tight.

We crept up the first climb. I start yawning which is what happens when my heart rate gets too high. Right before I start burping/ puking. I pulled over and felt my quads trembling. Wtf we weren’t even at Montreux yet! Elmer was waiting for me at the top and made the executive decision to “save us from ourselves” and change the route to the Lake Washington loop. After climbing 16% grade hills, it was luxurious to coast the gentle bike lanes with views of the mountains. Elmer noted how lucky we were, perfect weather, no flats (jinx). 

After Dim Sum (happy Easter!) I felt recovered enough to add a couple Mercer loops, of course I get a flat. I changed it myself but it shortened my plans. But still managed 65 miles/ 5000 ft of climbing for the weekend. Rather than facing my paperwork, started looking at century rides to do that wouldn’t conflict with Pigtails in May or the Inca Trail marathon in July and noted that I missed out on a 2 day ride to Mazama. Waitlist. Maybe next year?

I am seriously considering liposuction to get down to climbing weight. Or maybe hiring a weight loss coach? Whichever is most cost-effective.

Signed up for RSVP (bucket list #4).

Next up- the EUGENE OPEN is BAAACK!

Monday, April 3, 2017

they say it's your birthday

Boy that song is a little different from A Day in the Life. 

Where was I? Oh yes Happy Birthday Elmer🐒