Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seattle Marathon 2009 Quickie

Broke 4 hours! Barely! 3:59:38.

A soul crushing run in some ways, things started to get hard at 13, then really got tough at 16. there was some walking starting at Galer at 20.5 and through Madison and Interlaken, and I was just able to eke out sub 4.

Half Splits:

Val and my mom suffered through he 3 year-old from heck all day so I could see them for a grand total of 20 seconds. :) It made my day both times I saw them before the finish, so thanks Val and Mom!

Friday, November 27, 2009

11/27 Run - Last Run of the Taper

Friday was the last run of the taper. Seattle 2009 is on Sunday.

Went out around 6, Val and Mom watched Kaitlyn, and I ran an easy down and back on 35th. Could make no conclusive determination if my old shoes were going to destroy my legs if I ran in them so I decided to do the right thing and relace my shoes and run in the lower mileage shoes.

Packet pickup on Saturday, then Xmas photos, then an evening of rest.

HR is way out of whack for the first lap. It reported an HR above my max for a while. Second two splits are probably more accurate.

3.11 miles in 28:47 (9:16/mile) @ 156 bpm

9:20 @ 169
9:24 @ 147
9:02 @ 151

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Taper Madness - Decision Making

Not surprisingly, this last week I have been in the throes of taper madness. Ah, the joys of second guessing all of your training and equipment selection. Obsessing about the weather, worrying about every taper tweak you muscles throw at you... :)

After hours of obsessing, I think I've settled a few things out.


The weather today is projected to be 43-51. 10% chance of rain. So... shorts, long sleeve shirt, hat, and my #3 pair of shoes. I considered going for the #2 pair with 480 miles on them because they're a lot more comfortable in the uppers, but I think I'll wear the #3 set instead, simply so I don't damage anything.

I've been debating the tights, and only plan to fall back on them if the wind is extreme or the weather is much cooler than predicted.

Hydration Belt:

I've debated the extra weight a lot, and I think, despite having the bottle fall out the last run, that I'll take the single bottle instead of none, or the double. The bottle gives me some freedom for hydration and fueling timing, and I've trained with it so it's not like I'm not used to it. If I have family spectators at the mile 16 mark, I may dump it there.

Ah, heck, who am I kidding. I'm not sold. I'm still considering getting an SPI belt or equivalent and wearing that instead...

Hydration and Fueling:

Same plan as last year. GU every 2.5 -3 miles, starting at 5 miles. nuun in my bottle, water at aid stations or on refill.


And the item that has been chewing up the most of my stress... target speed/pace.

I've been training to McMillans target paces since RnR Seattle, which project to a 3:45 finish (8:36/mile). This is from both my half marathon, and 10K performances. I've actually been running faster than those paces in some case (which is probably bad, but what are you going to do?)

If you use Daniel's VDOT system, it predicts a 3:39:33 finish (8:22/mile). The upper end of my goal is a 4:00 finish (9:09/mile).

I'm pretty sure that I'm going to go for it, and shoot for 3:45. I think I'll try to keep the first 2-3 miles at ~8:40/mile. Once things settle out and I can get a better feel for pace and HR, I'll work my way up to as high as 8:22, trying to keep my HR <= 160 for the first 10 miles. I'll allow it to slip to 163 or so for the next 10 miles, and up to ~165 for the last 6.2.

The last 6.2 are always the challenge, and especially here on the Seattle course with some ugly hills from 21-23. We'll see. The fallback pace is around 9:00/mile. Or whatever it takes to finish.

I'm really not sure about this set of goals. There's been a pretty big lack of speed and tempo work for this training cycle. Long runs were oddly inconsistent, etc...

Any input would be appreciated. I've got 2 more days. :)

11/25 Run

I took Wednesday off, and got to run at home. Given my complete inability to hold a pace lately, I had what seemed like a brilliant idea. Run on the treadmill...

What a fecking debacle. I must have a poor memory for how miserable running indoors on the treadmill is. Sooooo hooooot! My HR was just a straight uphill climb. At least the scenery and people watching were interesting. I thought I saw a former coworker for a while. Weird.

First two miles at 9:30, next two at 8:20 (the theoretical upper limit for speed for the marathon), last at 9:30. The 8:20 miles were pretty tough. Harder than I expected, actually. We'll see if that's an achievable goal.

One more run, on Friday. 3 miles, nice and easy.

5 miles in 45:25 (9:05/mile) @ 157 bpm

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

11/24 Run

Tuesday was the last run of the Thanksgiving week at work. Went out for an out and back to SPU again. No wind, so I wonder if there's a slight downhill outbound. Or I'm just getting tired. A reminder that I need to throw away my first few miles worth of input at the marathon if it looks good, when determining pace and heart rate.

Saw Jake and Bruce out at the track doing a last couple of sets of 400s before Seattle. Overachievers. :) A nice comfortable day, 48 degrees and foggy. Average pace ended up being at marathon goal pace (probably) at a pretty reasonable heart rate.

Two more runs to go.

5.02 miles in 43:20 (8:38/mile) @ 150 bpm

8:35 @ 145
8:27 @ 151
8:42 @ 151
8:43 @ 153
8:42 @ 154
0.02 - 8:47 @ 157

Monday, November 23, 2009

11/22 Run

I had thought about making this an out and back on 35th to keep it nice and easy, but about a mile in I decided that would just be punishing myself, so I did the loop around the block instead.

A much better run than Saturday.

Garmin hung when ?I got home, but a reboot (hold bot buttons till screen goes blank) worked as advertised and the data was still available for upload.

3 more runs till the marathon.

6.21 miles in 54:11 (8:44/mile) @ 151 bpm

11/21 Run

Saturdays run was going to be 10 or 11 miles through Mill Creek. I was leaning towards 10, and modified one of my routes to shoot for that mileage. I decided to run the route I normally run 'backwards' for some variety.

As I hit the turn to come home I realized I was only going to be a little over 9. This had been a surprisingly tough run. Not a super confidence builder, unfortunately, so I decided that 9 was good enough, and I could get the taper weeks miles in on Sunday.

Lost a bottle from a hydration belt for the first time on a run. The belt must have been a little loose, and as I was chugging up the hill about 4.5 miles in I could feel it slapping around a little. And then suddenly, I weight about a pound less. :( Fortunately I caught the bottle before it rolled down the hill. :)

9.26 miles in 1:22:44 (8:56/mile) @ 157 bpm

Thursday, November 19, 2009

11/19 Run

Not so much with the rain missing today. :) At least it was near 50. Got out a little late. I forgot there was a Holiday party at work until Outlook pinged me just as I was getting up to go run. I wandered upstairs and grabbed a plate of food for later, and then went for a run.

I talked up the run to a few people. Not to show off, which is what it probably sounded like, but to make sure I got out there and did it. Which I did.

It rained the first 3.5 miles, and then tapered off, and there was some wind, but at least the rain was mostly vertical.

I've got this thing where i have trouble backing off if I start too fast. Evidence this run. I was running a bit faster than I should have been to clear some puddles, and a couple of really nasty splash zones in the street. And then I just kept going, because that's what felt right.

Well, it might have been a 'bit' fast, but according to the guys at Hansens it takes 10 days for a workout to show it's effects. So this was perfect. :) And since I'm in taper, so resting and eating at 100%, I'm all perky. This nice flat 5 mile Tempo run just left me feeling perky. Not wiped out like they normally do. And it was within 2 seconds/mile of my 10K pace, and 5 point lower in HR!

When I got back the gang that I had been chatting with was still hanging around, so we started talking again. Apparently, I'm now doing the running leg of a yet to be determined multisport relay next year. :) This'll be fun!!!

5.06 miles in 39:00 (7:43/mile) @ 168 bpm

7:49 159
7:33 170
7:50 169
7:48 171
7:37 174
0.06 - 6:44 177

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11/18 Run

I lucked out again and beat the weather. 50 and clearish, but very windy. I have to attribute my low HR, high speed outbound leg, and high HR, lower speed return leg directly to the hellacious wind.

It's nice to run a completely different run for a change. I really should mix things up more.

Taper time, so a shorter run than usual. Cutting back to 70% of peak (which was 44), so 31 miles this week, with a longest run of 10ish. Next week will be a whole 30% of peak, so about 13 miles.

5.04 miles in 43:13 (8:34/mile) @ 155 bpm

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

11/17 Run

First run of the week at lunch and I manage to miss the rain. It's 50 degrees, and clearish. Wow!

The first mile is a bit of work. HR feels abnormally high. After I blow out the carbon though I feel like I'm just flying, with dreams of surprisingly amazing marathon performance dancing in my head like little GU fairies. :)

The 6 miles on Saturday were 8:39/mile @ 159.

Today was:
6.1 miles in 52:58 (8:41/mile) @ 154 bpm

8:53 @ 161
8:22 @ 153
8:36 @ 153
8:36 @ 152
8:44 @ 154
8:54 @ 155
.1 - 8:57 @ 155

Check out miles 2-4... Where did that come from? Maybe I'm kicking this cold? I hope so!

I got chicked right after mile 4, by a gal who had been just behind me for a few miles. I'm blaming the headwind on the return leg for the degraded performance in miles 5 and 6. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

11/15 Long Run

Last long run of the training cycle. And, if you exclude Carkeek and my one 17 mile run (long medium-long run?, short long run?), my only long run. :) Now... taper time!

Got a late start thanks to Toby and a pain in the ass digestive system, so I didn't get on the road till around 6:40. About 30 minutes late. Grumble...

Temp was a bit warmer than Saturday, and the wicking/wet ass thing made me try switching my top for a generic longsleeve driFit. Wore the Outdoor Injinjis again, because, well, they're comfy. :) Started with gloves, but they were off by the second mile. Temps were in the low 40s. It spat a bit for the first few miles, then cleared up nicely.

Really noticed how water resistant the jacket was this time. Felt like I had puddles in my elbows, and it appears that it's the jacket that's dumping the sweat onto my ass. By the time I was done I was soaked about halfway down my thighs. Cold. It keeps the wind off though, and that was a blessing.

Fueling was 5 GUs over the course of the run, and since I couldn't figure out reloading of water bottles, hydration was 2 bottles. which worked out fine since the temp was low. Back to considering a hydration pack again... :) It's more weight o haul, but if I keep going long...

I've been chewing over routes for this run for a few days. I didn't want to do my 14 mile loop with the repeated small loops like I normally do. Just not feeling it. This transformed into modifying the 14 mile loop by lopping off this vestigial leg that it has and doing it twice.

By the time I got on the road and was a few miles in, finishing just one loop was going to be a challenge. The first 8 miles of this run were, even if the speed doesn't show it when I look at the splits, a death march. Probably influence by the fast 6 on Saturday. I tried to use Garmin and keep a target pace for the first 2 or 3 miles, and then stopped looking at the watch and started running by feel. Which seems to have worked out pretty well actually.

Things broke free just after mile 8 chirped on Garmin. Suddenly, I felt like the run was much easier, and I was able to keep a much better pace. I kept running by feel, just checking more on HR (trying to keep it < 153) than on pace.

I decided that with how much of a slog the first third of the run was that doing two loops was excessively sadistic, so I headed towards home to do a loop around the block to get the other miles in. This strategy also had the additional advantage that if I decided that things were horrible at mile 16, I could hang a left and run the .75 miles to home, instead of being trapped 4 miles away.

Streets were very quiet. A handful of walkers, and maybe 2 or three more runners. Saturday must be long run day around here. :)

Pace ended up being much better than I though it would be, but about 10 seconds/mile slower than I'd have preferred for my ego and my head space before the race.

Some mild soreness in the extensor tendons again after the run. Nothing like last weeks pain, but something. After some thought, I suspect that it is the Injinjis. I think that they are affecting the way my feet behave, what with the separate toes, etc. Probably for the better, but not something I want to mess with this close to an 'A' race. Back to regular socks for a few weeks and the race, and then I'll start mixing the Injinjis back in until I strengthen my feet.

20.1 miles in 3:06:47 (9:18/mile) @ 153 bpm

11/14 Run

The original plan for Saturday was to get up and do my last long run in the morning. A night of the most bizarre not sleeping, I was just AWAKE, and the residue of the cold meant that I rolled back over and went back to sleep instead.

Val and Kaitlyn were both a bit off, so I didn't get out till Kaitlyn went down for her nap, around 2:45. It was really nice to run during the day, with no rain. :)

A chilly, windy, clockwise run around the block at home. It was ~40, but all the weather sites said the "feels like" was closer to 35. I'd believe that. Decided it was good weather to try out the Craft long sleeve in combination with the new jacket, and tights. Also tried out my new Outdoor Injinjis. Mmmmm. Merino Wool...

The jacket is definitely windproof and water resistant. The high neck on the Craft shirt took a little getting used to. Warm shirt, the only problem is the long tail causes the sweat to wick to your butt. Which then gets soaked and cold. :|

The Outdoor Injinjis are super warm and comfy. They're about 4 times thicker than the Performance models, and made of Merino Wool. Breathable and wicking. My only objection is that they are a quarter sock and are probably going to look seriously odd in shorts.

As I've complained about before, I'm having trouble keeping my pace down, so I just decided to make sure I didn't get too carried away and turn this into a tempo run or something brutal. It ended up being within a few seconds a mile of being a marathon goal pace run.

I had considered from the beginning doing 10 and trying to make this a super-duper weekend ala RnR Seattle training, but regained my senses about halfway through and just did the 6.

6.18 miles in 53:29 (8:39/mile) @ 159 bpm (85%)

Friday, November 13, 2009

11/12 Run

Starting to come down with something. HR is up, and by the end of the race my calves were nice and achy. HR was just totally out of whack the first mile, and then settled out tows a slightly high normal.

Counterclockwise around the lake with my gloves on. I was cold in the office and it was 48 out. Sleeves were up by 2 miles in, and there was no point in taking off the gloves since I'd have to carry them. Oops. :)

Pacing was high as normal, and I decided not to fight it for a change and just tried to keep it under control.

6.1 miles in 53:49 (8:49/mile) @ 162 bpm

11/11 Run

Foot is still feeling good, so out for a lunch run. Bruce is in the locker room and headed the same direction so we headed out together. Probably a mistake. I tried to go slow, but got sucked in to speeding up a little. And once I've got a pace set I seem to be unable to slow the pace down.

good run though. :) Bruce broke off at about mile 3.5 and ran into Jake just as I was going up the stairs to the University Bridge, and I waves as I ran off. :)

6.09 miles in 53:20 (8:45/mile) @ 157 bpm

Monday, November 9, 2009

11/9 Run

After a weekend of nursing my foot, I limped into work, bought a bag of peas on the walk in from the bus and started icing in earnest. I had, optimistically, brought in my running gear, but ended up not using it at lunch. After some quality time walking around the office in sock feet, a few Motrin, and a couple of sessions with my 'ice pack', I was feeling more like normal.

I went to the gym in the evening to test things out on a nice level treadmill. No inclines, nothing fancy. If the running didn't work, I was going to switch to the elliptical and see if I could survive that.

BTW, after some research online and thumbing through Runners World, lack of impact on the elliptical means add 30% time to the equivalent amount of running. i.e. 60 minute run ~= 78 minutes on the elliptical.

Also... did you know you can lace your shoes in more ways than just the standard way? Snort. Apparently one of the ways to deal with the rubbing/pressure on the top of the foot is to switch to a Straight (Box) lacing style. I set up the shoes that way for this run and it seems to work pretty well. The spot on my left foot still seems to get a bit of wear, but the newly 'injured' right foot ("Dr." Google says extensor tendonitis). A whole site about lacing

Rana t 0% with now problems at all. Lacing is a bit harder to tightened to a comfortable snugness, but I can work that out. Yay! No pain.

Remembered to put in my HR strap, forgot Garmin. :(

6.2 miles @ 0% in 56:20 (9:05/mile) @ unk. bpm

11/7 Medium Long Run

Friday the 6th was a rest day , so I took lunch and walked over to REI and picked up a pair of Injinji toe socks. They had been suggested online as a good choice to avoid inter-toe blisters among other benefits, so I thought I'd pick up a pair and try them out. Snagged a basic pair of MiniCrews in white, and a pair of down filled slippers for Val and walked back to the office.

Tried them on once I got to the office, and they got worn home. The joy of new socks (mmmmm... I'd wear a brand new pair of socks every day if I were rich.) They aren't exactly a sock you just 'slip' on. You actually have to pay attention to the process. Once you get used to feeling something against the webs of your toes they are super comfortable. They ain't cheap, and they're kind of creepy looking, but I'm probably going to get another couple of pairs.

On Saturday, up at 5:30, out the door by 6:15. iPhone and the outdoor thermometer agreed, it was 48, but felt MUCH cooler, and windy. Spent a few minutes debating clothing and ended up running in tights and long sleeve shirt. Threw my gloves in one of the pouches on the belt, along with all the other sundries for a longish run and got on the road.

Thighs definitely kept the wind off, and it was conveniently dry, with threatening clouds promising a drenching later. I probably would have been fine with my shorts, but I'm still getting dialed in to the new default temperatures.

Still feeling good from Carkeek, a little tightness in hamstring and calf from the tempo run on Thursday, but the full rest day seems to have worked it's magic.

Garmin was all over the fricking place as far as reporting pace. Frustrating, but not a lot you can do other than to take a reading when you know how it reads and how you feel match, and try to keep the pace. Lots of runners out for their long runs. Seattle must be in 3 weeks. :)

Wore the Injinji's for this run. Was really nice to be able to wiggle my toes on the move and release some tension in my feet. They're a bit thinner than my other socks so there was a bit of movement, and a potential hotspot in my right foot. I think slightly tighter lacing would handle the problem.

Actually chatted briefly with a pair of ladies that were training for the half. They looked nice and strong. I hope I wasn't committing a faux pas, or being obnoxious. :|

Had my shirt sleeves up by 3 miles and back down by 10 as I hit a cold pocket that had my breath visible in the air. You could feel the temperature drop and see the clouds come in to start their pounce. They held off till mile 12, and then the skies just opened up. And rained the rest of the day. :)

Speaking of tighter lacing... About 7 miles in I felt a pinch on the top of my left foot. Nothing particularly painful, and I knew right away it was the lacing rubbing either the top of my foot or the tendon. Nothing to worry about, since it come sup a lot so I tweaked the tongue of the shoe till I didn't feel it as much, then ignored it and kept moving.

14.21 miles in 2:10:33 (9:11/mile) @ 157 bpm

The rubbing ended up being a bit more serious that it felt. By a few hours later I was suffering pretty significant swelling and pain on the top of my right foot. Some feeling around showed that it was soft tissue, but not particularly fun. I bailed out of my Sunday run in the morning when my alarm went off. The swelling was down, but it was still tender to the touch. By the end of Sunday I was walking around pretty normally, but still had some pain if I laced shoes too tight or put on the wrong shoes.

Monday I bitched about it on Facebook, and 4 hours later, after some ice at work and a pair of Motrin, I wouldn't have known it was there. Of course. Don't know how I forgot to ice all weekend. Doh! I didn't take any NSAIDs since I've been trying to dial back my usage after learning they can actually interfere with the healing process.

11/5 Tempo Run

Didn't miss the rain on Thursday. It was pretty comfortable temperature-wise (58ish), but it was just pouring. I went out anyway. Yay me. :)

It's wet, a bit chilly, I'm not feeling any aches and pains from Carkeek, and I'm having a lot of trouble keeping my speed down. So I figured what the hell, if my body won't listen to my brain, we'll 'punish it'... Tempo Run!

8:38 @ 152

7:51 @ 170
8:10 @ 171
7:55 @ 172
8:00 @ 173 Tempo Avg: 7:59/mile @ 172 bpm

8:55 @ 169
0.13- 8:36 @ 168
6.13 miles in 50:37 (8:15/mile) @ 167 bpm

Probably should have dialed it back after 3, but... Slowest and highest HR Tempo run I've had. The 4 mile tempo block normally looks like 7:52/mile @ 164. I guess I'm not quite as recovered as I thought. :| .

Hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendons all tightened up, and I went to bed super early. Just trashed. Which, honestly is about how it goes after almost all my Tempo runs. Which will be a point for future discussion... :)

11/4 Run

I worked from home to take care of Val, and wrangling phone calls for her so she could sleep meant an evening run.

HR was back down where I expect it to be after my warmup walk, which was nice. Started run at like 58bpm. Which, at 8:45pm is lower than most of my lunch runs. Didn't last long though :)

Cool, but I missed the rain again. Clockwise around the block. All the kinks felt like they had been shaken out, and I'm feeling surprisingly good for 4 days after running 40+ miles.

6.18 miles in 54:37 (8:50/mile) @ 156 bpm

Thursday, November 5, 2009

11/2 Recovery Run

I've let the race report sit up at the top of the page long enough. :) Time to get caught up.

I took Sunday off after Carkeek, and ran Monday with Bruce out to the Freemont Bridge and back. Nice and easy, actually using the heart rate component of the Garmin and trying to keep it under 143.

Needless to say, we discussed the race and running the whole time. :)

Bruce had some great advice regarding pairing a handheld flashlight with a headlamp that I'll have to try the next time I run in the dark. Essentially, use both. :) The handheld is more responsive when you want to check things out, and throws better shadows.

Thighs were a little sore, and the small muscles around my ankles seem to have developed a bit of soreness as well. Good run to shake things out.

3.54 miles in 34:58 (9:53/mile) @ 135 bpm

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Carkeek 12 Hour 2009 Race Report

So, I'm coming into what might be my first ultra with a whole 2 marathons under my belt, and what is, in my mind, a completely inadequate training cycle for this next sequence of races (Carkeek, Seattle, and Pigtails Flat Ass).

My longest run since RnR Seattle on 27 June was 17 miles, and that was 8 weeks ago (as part of my highest mileage week since RnR, 43.9).

The last 8 weeks have looked like:
43.9 (14, 17 on Sat, Sun),
14 (abdominal strain),
0 (ab strain recovery),
25.6 (incl. 4 laps @ Carkeek),
39.1 (incl. 4 laps @ Carkeek, 14 mile 'long' run),
0 (head space issues + lost a cat. :( ),
and finally, week of the 12 Hour, 18.3 miles.

Needless to say, not exactly feeling prepared.

As the week progressed, I obsessed about the race, alternating between feeling nervous and excited. Preparations posts can be found here: Hydration & Nutrition, Packing.

Finally, after a crazy Friday evening, and a not unexpected night of low quality sleep, the alarm went off at 3:30 on Saturday.

Make a pit stop, weigh in (188.0 pounds)(WAY up from Seattle last year, which was my lowest at 170), take out the dog, eat my now 'traditional' prerace meal of a pair of CLIF nectar bars and 16 oz of water, change into running clothes, cap off the water bottles of nuun that have been sitting all night, load the last bits into the car, one last pitstop and on the road right about on time at 4:40.

30 minutes to Carkeek. Hopefully the gate is open and the good parking is still available. No traffic, no rain, so a nice quick drive down to the park. Gate is open, and I'm one of the first 5 - 10 people, so I get a great spot right on the course and facing the beach.

Sam and Brock are getting set up, fire is getting lit in the fire pit, and people are starting to show up. Tried to help out. Used some of my zip ties to help put up one of the shelters, some of my stakes to hold the aid station shelter down, and set up a table. Then I realized my nervous energy was kicking and that I should just frickin chill out. :) So I got checked in, hung around the fire and waited. Caught up with Nic, Betsy, and Matt and listened to the conversations.

Prerace briefing was short and sweet. Essentially: Course is marked with green chemlites. (Me: Hopefully no one is colorblind. :) Chemlites are on the side of any intersection you want to take. We'll track your laps with candy in your bag. Have fun. :)

Goals for the day:
A: 14 laps (27.02 miles) -- > Marathon
A+: 17 laps (32.81 miles) -- > 50K (31 mi)
A++: 21 laps (40.53 miles) -- > 40 miles

And begin...

To get you oriented, here's a course map:

And a Garmin trace of the course:

Lap 1:
Started with compression shorts, LS shirt, jacket, and headlamp. I was freezing with the wind coming off of the Sound and not moving around while we waited, but that ended fast. Halfway through the lap, my jacket was tied around my waist, and sleeves were pushed all the way up. Too fast. Not really looking at time. Garmin is set to Pace-HR-Distance, so I don't really have any idea how fast the lap was, but it didn't feel like the slow pace I was shooting for.

For whatever reason when he said start it didn't feel like people wanted to get going, so I think I was in the first 10 runners or so for the first few laps. Not sure how that happened. :)

Rapidly discovered that one of my Nathan 22oz bottles leaks from the spout. Had to carry it for a while and play with it till I got it seated enough that it wasn't getting my butt wet. Grumble, grumble. Needless to say that bottle didn't go back into rotation once I finished it.

This race seemed really odd to me in that you never really had a good idea how many people were on the course, or where you stood in relation to people. I had 3 or 4 people who I saw regularly, but other than that it was pretty sparse out there. I'm not sure how people passed me in some cases. I don't remember them doing it. Except for the guy in the witches hat. And the fast woman with the hydration pack. And Linda. And Nic. And Matt. OK, maybe I did see more people than I thought.

But still.... I didn't see Betsy till she stopped, I didn't see Jessica or Rob till their lap 16, my lap 17.

Lap 2:
Started drinking in earnest. Too fast again. Right knee has started to bother me on some of the uphills and upstairs. Nothing serious, but it's there...

Some neat visuals watching people ahead of me illuminated by an arc or a circle of light depending on terrain, and their silhouette.

Lap 3:
Lost my running 'partner', Linda, halfway through lap. Realized I was still moving too fast, slowed down and she lapped me. Having a partner makes a big difference when doing the night laps. That person tucked in 6-10 feet behind you and the extra illumination their headlamp provides makes a big difference.

It was an odd experience to run with someone for over an hour, supporting each other, and only exchange words briefly at the first aid station as we passed through. Hope all you got were DOTS and Skittles!

Linda later commented (like on lap 15) that we were either going to love or hate each other as much time as we spent swapping back and forth on the course. And then I never saw her again. :)

Lap 4:
Sun is starting to come up during this lap. Halfway through you could have probably passed the classic wide thread/dark thread test for dawn. By end of lap it's morning and I don't need the head lamp anymore.

Lap 5:
Started lap with a stop at the car to drop off head lamp and jacket, grab a fresh bottle of nuun and change into a dry short sleeve shirt. Had to find a tree at some point in this loop. A welcome relief, and a chance I wouldn't take later in the day.

Moving too fast on the down hill here. A little hand support to the left abdominal (strained a few weeks ago) makes everything better, but I slow down and the problem goes away. Have to do it a few more times over the day, and always in this stretch of downhill. Time to restart my core workouts.

Lap 6:
Sometime during this lap I realize that the twinges and aches in my right knee are gone. Just disappeared. Yay!

Lap 7:
Cross 3 hours towards the end of this lap. I'm pretty sure that I 'meet' Sara and David? on this lap when I hear Sara mention she is going to take some pics if she grabs her phone. Hope your run went well. Stop and take care of the hot spots on my right foot. No blisters yet, but time for some preventative care. From the two marathons I know I'll blister on this foot at these spots (edge of big toe and edge of ball of foot).

Lap 8:
Forgot camera on this loop. Too busy getting loaded up and dealing with foot issues last time around I suppose.

Lap 9:
Snagged camera and bottle of water, fixed up my left foot (same problems at toe and ball of foot), and thus...finally... course pics. :)

The start/aid station is behind us, and we're headed out:

Hang the right at the information booth and down the stairs:

Follow the easy trail that parallels the train tracks:

And cross the open field. Hopefully the guy feeding the birds won't be there and you won't have to worry about getting attacked. :) Once you cross the field, you're at the base of the Carkeek Crest Hill (aka (to me) as the Hill Of Doom :

At the base of the hill:

Almost to the top:

The post to the left says "Carkeek Crest":

Reminder at the top of the hill:

Hang a left and head down into the woods:


An attempt to show how lush the 'valley' was. Photography skills FAIL:

More Trail:

"Optical Illusion Bridge". The first time I saw this bridge I thought the ground literally ended and I'd have to jump down 6 feet. :)

After the sadistic downhill stairs and a set of switchbacks you get a straight downhill to the Hatchery? Water Treatment Plant?

Left at the bottom of the hill, splash through the mud at the base of the hill and onto asphalt and flat for a little bit:

Hang a left at the 'Y', cross the bridge over Piper's Creek and then hang a hard right:

Portasan if you need it, cross the road and you're a bit over halfway done with a loop. Now we get ready to climb again:

Very pretty little stream:

A warning. This little hill always surprises me. It doesn't look steep, but it tears my legs up every time. And that's walking it.

Up the slope:

Hang the left and pass the snag:

Some of the best part of the whole run, leading into a nasty uphill:

The Swingin' tree. Barrel down the trail from the right, grab the tree, swing the 270 degree turn and start walkin':

More uphill:


At the top of the last nasty uphill:

You can see the sound just after you turn left at the top of the hill. You parallel a steep cliff, with railroad tracks at the bottom and a view of the sound for a nice part of the last leg.

A view from the lookout on the return leg:

The barely seen runner in the distance is overall winner James Breyfogle. His race report can be found here.


Come out from the last downhill and hang a left and you're back at the aid station:

Our esteemed RD: Sam Thompson. And food. Mmmmm. Fooood.

Runners in costumes:

Lap 10:
Some of the course pics above were taken on this lap since I missed them the first time around.

Then I dropped the camera off and asked Sam to take pics of runners if he had the time. Get a puppy fix from a Bernese Mountain Dog, happy, friendly little fella. :) Desmond.

Wish mine (Toby) were cooperative enough to run a few laps here. May have to try it anyway.

Lap 11:
Lap 12:
Apparently I don't remember anything momentous about either one of these laps. :) I remember at some point talking to the runner ahead of me about something and realizing when they didn't respond that they had an iPod on that I hadn't noticed.

I probably started to notice my quads and hip flexors sometime around here. And obviously they got progressively more tired as the next 9-10 laps proceeded.

Discovered that the cheap Beach To Chowder Bottles leak too. Badly. From the neck. Carried the bottle the whole damn loop. Grrr...

Lap 13:
Saw and chatted with Matt Hagen as we climbed the Hill Of Doom.

I realized while talking with Matt that at the whole deal with this race, for me anyway, was Being Present (that ever popular catch phrase). Something I'm not very good at. But the only way to do this race for me was to "Be Present" in on the lap I was in. There were little influences about goals and future laps, but what had already happened didn't matter. I kept track of each lap by telling myself what lap I was on continuously. All that mattered was me and the lap, and how I felt THAT lap. And if it was really bad, me and the six feet of trail in front of me.

Lap 14:
Saw and chatted with Matt Hagen again, going up the Hill Of Doom again. Not sure how we pulled that off.

Crossed the 26.2 mile marker at something like 6:38. Roughly 2:10 slower than my current personal worst. :)

Garmin bitched at me with a low battery warning as I was coming down the hill towards the aid station. Apparently the first battery warning for a 405 is just under 20% battery remaining. When I loaded up after the aid station I grabbed the external battery (Duracell Instant Charger) and Garmin charger cable and started the recharge process.

Lap 15:
I've met my A goal! I'm taking 'lunch'. :)

Got the 'Orange Stuff' (cool Whip/Jello fruit salad) from car and set it out for everyone, and had a nice scoop of it myself. I only brought back a few scoopfuls, and I only had 3 or 4 so at least some other people enjoyed it. :)

Took my second and only other bathroom break for the day - nothing anomalous in urine (Paranoia from reading too many race reports), and despite a lap or two of gas, nothing else to dispose of. Intestinal issues are always a bit of a paranoia thing for me, so...

Finally got back out there after 10-15 minutes, I'd guess. Walked the first third or half of the lap, texted Val and checked in, etc.

Had a friend text me "Your shoelaces are untied" just as I was climbing the Hill Of Doom. Heh. :

Lap 16:
Nic came in from a lap just after I hit the aid station, and after a brief pause we went back out together. Nic was nice enough to stick with me the full run despite my low speed. "Supposedly" he went out too fast for the first 25 miles and was slowing down. I think he was just being nice.

We had an interesting discussion about the fact that endurance athletes have been shown to have higher pain tolerances than the 'normal' people. Which begs the chicken and egg question... did they develop it, or did they have it already and that's what drew them to endurance athletics.

That segued into how mucho fit is physical vs. mental, and my idea that it would be cool to have a 'pain' camera that would show you the pain impulses of someone like Sam or Brock, or you, and be able to compare responses to running and maybe see if it is physical or mental.

Lap 17:
Finally ran into Katie and Rob at aid station (nice costume as bride). Ran the lap with Nic, Katie, and Rob. Katie and Rob had some great race costume/race theme ideas for future races. Go for it guys!

They just about killed me on this lap. All three of them were just so fricking fresh, perky and energetic. I wasn't about to fall off the back so I just tucked in and sucked it up. In retrospect it was probably a good lap to get me back into the swing of things and helped to get me sped back up. Thanks gang!

Felt like I had lost a toenail (first toe on right foot) over this lap. When I stopped at the end of the lap it urns out it was just a blister (probably from the tape on the big toe) rubbing the inside of the toe. Drained it and threw on a bandaid. The little toe on the left foot was bothering me too so I dealt with it as well. Apparently, this almost vestigial toe gets folded under and blisters. Fixed that too.

As an aside, paper athletic tape bleeds adhesive. I had to peeeelllll my socks off the wraps around the balls of my feet because my socks had stuck to them so well. Who knew. :)

Finally Garmin was close enough to charged at 97%. So ~1:30 to recharge 70%. not horrible. Having the cable dangling behind me from the pouch was a bit of a pain, but not unmanageable.

Crossed the 9 hour marker on this lap.

And met my A+ goal of 50K shortly after the start of the lap.

Lap 18:
Dad isn't here yet, went so I went out for my lap. Feet HURT for the first half mile until all the new blister care stuff shook out. OW. Saw a guy with braces on both legs, out with his lady friend doing the hills. Humbling. Made me glad I could run.

Lap 19:
Dad and Karen showed up to say hello on the way to the house. Talked for 5-10 minutes, checked in with Val, and then I went back out, and they headed to the house for Trick or Treating.

Dad got this picture as I was coming in, finishing lap 18. I really need to drop the extra weight and go back to they gym. :( And I look entirely too happy for having just run just under 35 miles. :)

Lap 20:
Noticed a bit of left nipple chafing at some point and realized that the bandaid had come loose. Not sure how long it had been that way, and nothing I could do about it, so I just let it be till I got back to the aid station. Nice ego boost at end of lap when checking in and mentioning that this was my first ultra. People seemed surprised/pleased at my performance. Yay me! :)

Lap 21:
Blue Steel applied to nipple at aid station, and back out for final lap. Might be able to do two with the time remaining , but not sure about pace for the last few laps. Finally decided that since A++ goal is to break 40 miles, regardless of remaining time after this lap, I'm done.

Photo of stairs halfway up Carkeek Crest Hill/Hill Of Doom:

Self Portrait using phone at bottom of said stairs:

Spent most of this lap telling off all of the hard sections of the course as I passed through them. :)

I was in one of those "the only thing that matters is you and the 6 feet of trail in front of you" moments when the Garmin chirped. Looked down to se 40 on the mileage and said out loud: "Holy Sh!t. I just ran 40 miles." And then, because I hadn't realized the endurance runner's emotional sensitivity had kicked in, I spent 30 seconds trying not to sob my eyes out. :)

Texted Val to tell her I was about done, with .5 miles or so to go. Dragged the process out because I saw it was only 11:10 into the race, and I thought I might feel bad about not going for another lap.

Didn't help kill that much time, and once I hit the aid station I was done. Legs were tired, and I wanted to go spend some time with Kaitlyn. And breaking 40 was enough.

Hit aid station for the last time... And... Stop.

11:20:39 - 21 laps - 40.53 miles - 9030 feet of elevation gain.

My first ultra in the books, and I'm still so proud of myself I could just spit.
Slow but stubborn. :)

Sam draped my cool race medal around my neck, hooked me up and took a few pictures for me, I picked up my dishes and the stakes for the shelters and walked to the car.

I think I met more people walking to the car than I had during the race. :)

My Lake Union 10K shirt got me introduced to Laura Houston, who was the bike borne rabbit for the fast runners at LU10K, and teaches Chi Running at 5focus.

I changed into 'real' clothes in the car, and when I finished met Tony C. as he got into vehicle for some stuff. We chatted about the Carkeek's 'hardest 12 hour out there' appellation (that I, with my lack of ultra experience wondered if it was a bit of hyperbole. After some quality time with Google, not any more.) He stated that he's done 72 miles at a track 12 hour... and did ~50 here.

Drove home and went Trick or Treating with Kaitlyn. Probably good to get the kinks worked out from the drive, and it was great to see my family. I probably pushed a little and should have bailed to rest sooner, but Val was there to kick me upstairs for a shower and make me a big plate of spaghetti and most of a small loaf of garlic bread, so it's all good. :) My biggest pains at this point after the race are hip flexors and upper quads. Feet are a bit sore too.

I got one picture of my feet before I pulled all the tape, as I was standing in the kitchen. The color is WAY off, so no one panic. They were normally colored. Just trying to show all the tape. No toenails lost, and except for my toes (especially in my right foot) feeling like they were waking up from being asleep (which went on for a few days) no major problems.

I drank a 22 oz. bottle about every two laps (starting at the second lap), mostly nuun, except for two VERY refreshing bottles of plain water at some point. I did notice, twice I think, that nuun tastes pretty good when you're running. When you're standing around talking/eating... Not so much.

I sucked down one more bottle on the drive home, had a pair of Mounds from Kaitlyn's stash, and made brief pitstop and weighed in at 185.2. Only down 2.8 pounds over 11 hours and 40 miles. I think hydration was reasonably dialed in.

Fueling was pretty much a GU (or equivalent) on most laps at the halfway point (just before or after we crossed the road) and then something at the aid station. The advantage of using your car as your aid station is that you have all your trash. :)

I know for sure that I consumed:
2 flasks of Orange Hammer: 4 servings used, 3 servings used (in 4 total 'doses')
2 Hammer Raspberry's (these were REALLY grainy. Past their expiration date?)
7 GUs (Lemon-Lime, TriBerry)

The additional fueling at the aid station was pretty light in the first 6 hours or so, and got progressively heavier as I got slower. It also seemed to make the most difference as to how I felt energy wise on the next lap. I had some of the best effing PB&Js I've ever eaten, and the 'Orange Stuff' works pretty well as fuel. :) Boiled potatoes and salt were tasty, but seemed to sit pretty heavy. Peanut M&Ms and Candy corn were just tasty. :)

Next Day:
Mostly moving around well on Sunday. Soreness had moved to my lower quads and has stayed there (I was able to pull out a 3.5 mile recovery run on Monday). And my lats, just above my shoulder blades, are sore. Apparently from swinging them arms around. Surprisingly nothing AT ALL from calves and shins.

Thanks to Sam and Brock for a fantastic race. Great to meet and see everyone I met and saw. :)
Only thing I think I'd add/change would be a 'leaderboard' so you could see how other runners are doing.

I'm almost at the point that next year sounds like a good time. :)
Another day or so. :)