Sunday, December 20, 2009

12/17 Tempo Thursday and "Workout"

Sprinted down to the locker room to squeeze in a run before a meeting, and Bruce was doing the same thing, so we decided to go out together. As we all know, this means I'm gonna get a workout. This was no exception. According to McMillan, this run ended up within the Tempo range for my 3:45 goal (7:49 - 8:09), so Tempo Thursday, yay!

We went out clockwise, and I actually chatted! I'm not sure how I managed that at this pace, but I was actually able to participate in a conversation, and for the last couple of miles, be the person doing most of the talking.

49 and clear... very nice day for a run.

6.51 miles in 52:26 (8:03/mile) @ 169 bpm (90% MHR)

Pigtails on Saturday. Hopefully this run doesn't cause any problems. I'm not supposed to be racing it, it's just supposed to be a long training run, so no taper.

7:54 @ 156
8:02 @ 169
7:51 @ 168
8:04 @ 172
8:06 @ 174
8:02 @ 175
0.51 - 8:43 @ 170

Evening "Workout"
Val was about an hour into Gran Torino as I was leaving for the gym. We hadn't seen it yet, and I got sucked in. Decided to workout at home instead.

Val had me try some of the off balance pushup (one hand on a medicine ball, other on the ground), then I did my step ups and planks. Did a second set of pushups, and then started stepups. My thighs complained about the tempo run, so I just bagged it and watched the rest of the movie. And then went up and logged in to work for half an hour.

12/16 Run

And we truly are back to Seattle winter weather - 51 degrees and rain
But, 51 degrees means shorts again! Don't mind the tights, but...

I've noticed before, and noticed again this run, that wearing hat, which is great for shade and keeping rain out of the eyes, seems to affect my form. I tent to look down more if I have my hat on. Interesting.

The form affecting hat was of hat off by ~2. I don't remember having to go hatless so often in the beginning. Increased speed == more heat?

It rained to 2.5, took a break to tease us, and then started again at 4.

Good run, but tough. I didn't object to the brief break at the light by Speedy Reedy today.

Tuesday was a "Hey, maybe I can race Pigtails even though I shouldn't."
Today was a "God, pigtails is gonna suck. This hurts!"

6.47 miles in 56:07 (8:41/mile) @ 159 bpm

Had one of those random, post run thought as I was walking back:
Based on someone I read once, the fae (to include fairies) were 'gods' to be appeased, not worshipped as modern gods are. That let to an interesting thought of what would Tinkerbell as one of the fae...

12/15 Run and Workout

Well, the Seattle weather is back to normal. Went out on Tuesday in the rain. Good solid rain, no mizzle (misty drizzle, the more typical Seattle precipitation). Reasonably comfortable at 45 for a quick counterclockwise loop around the lake.
My left calf was tight again, down near the achilles. Definitely need to keep an eye on this one.
Did some pushups and situps at home Monday night, and my lower abs were still pretty sore/weak. My lower back to a lesser degree. My lower abs mumbled on the run, but nothing serious.

6.1 miles in 56:36 (8:50/mile) @ 155 bpm
(within a second total time of last week, 4 points lower in HR, maybe I'm recovering from Seattle.) :)

Evening Workout

C2 Rowing Machine - 500 meters on 5.5 in 2:15.
Slow and easy for a warmup.

Initial Pushup Set: 14
what the hell?

2 sets as supersets
Front Planks - 60 seconds
Side Planks - 40 seconds
C1: Stability Ball Crunches (5 second hold) - 10 reps
C2: Stability Ball Forward Rolls (5 second hold) - 10 reps

really felt my lower abs on the ball forward rolls, very tight, still sore. Surely not doing full range of motion on these

2 sets as supersets
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Front - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Sideways - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Sideways Twist - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Jumps - 3 sets - 10 reps

12" PlyoBox Single Leg Jumps- 1 set - 10 reps each leg

2 sets of each superset. One superset cluster at at time. 1 minuteish rest between sets.
SC1: Stability Ball Chest Press - 10 reps @ 25#
SC2: Pushups - 15 reps
pushups were on the knees after the first two or three

SB1: Dumbbell Rows - 10 Reps @ 25#
SB2: Free Motion Pulldowns - 12 Reps @ 25#

SS1: Overhead (Shoulder) Press - 10 reps @ 20#
SS2: Shoulder Abduction - 12 reps @ 8#
on the second set of shoulder presses my left arm started to fail

SL1: Dumbell Squats - 10 reps @ 45#
SL2: Stability Ball Leg Extension - 12 reps

Standing Bicep Curls - Alternating Arms - 2 sets, 10 reps/arm @ 20#

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12/12 Medium Long Run

I had planned on running Saturday in the morning, but decided to spend some time at home instead. Then I was going to run during Kaitlyn's nap, and we got sucked into the new Terminator. Finally forced myself out the door at about 3:40. Forgetting that whole sunset, it gets cold thing. It was ~31 when I left, and got a bit brisker about halfway through the run. :)

The run was a bit faster than it probably should have been, but I sped up to keep warm. Ant then when the sun went down I sped up some more. :) Creating an very pretty 'cut-down' run for the last five or so miles, with the pace dropping 10/sec a mile or so every mile. Good workout! I ran through Mill Creek and added a mile on the trail since I apparently can't add and run at the same time. Goal was closer to 10. :)

11.61 miles in 1:38:18 (8:28/mile) @ 158 bpm

8:31 @ 151
8:37 @ 158
8:31 @ 153
8:22 @ 151
8:40 @ 159
8:50 @ 159
8:35 @ 158
8:39 @ 158
8:29 @ 162
8:13 @ 162
8:04 @ 163
0.61 - 7:54/mile @ 168

Friday, December 18, 2009

12/10 Run and Workout

Another chilly run at work 31ish when we left, 35 by the time we got back. Actually did without the jacket, but kept the gloves.

Caught Bruce just as he was about to leave, and we decided to run the lake together. As we were walking out of the garage, Bruce said what are some of the most feared words in my running vocabulary. "Want to run Queen Anne?" What am I going to say? No? :)

So after a brutal slog up Queen Anne, to the base of the antennas, which involved more than a little bit of walking, we finally tipped over the top and started on the quad destroying downhill. But I could breathe. So, win! I was also able to use my time honored tactic for getting a few breath's when running with Bruce. Ask an open ended question about a running subject that Bruce enjoys, and let him talk. Grunt at the appropriate times. :)

So I asked some questions about 50 miler training. Starting with the back-to-back vs. single long run question. He's pretty much a fan of back to backs, with the ideal being that your weekend total be close to race distance (say 45 miles total), and about half your weekly mileage. For him, 90 mpw is a good target goal for a 50 miler. Given that the likely hood of that mileage happening in this training cycle borders on negative infinity (I think I might be able to pull off 70 or so)

Just as we finish this discussion, Bruce show me a neat trick to cut back under the Aurora Bridge. We're only 2.5 miles into the run at this point, and I'm already trashed, and suddenly we're on the Ship Canal Trail, about to cross under the bridge. I think "maybe we're headed back to the office, and 'run the lake' was just a euphemism". And then... "Oh, god, we're going up the stairs. Shit. We're really going all the way around." :)

A couple of miles later, we run into Jake, who is out for a flu laden run, and we run with him for a few miles till he heads back to work and we pop up onto Eastlake.

Somewhere in here was more advice about 50 milers and longer runs that appears to have trickled out of my brain. We trotted back into the building and I survived to run another day. :)

7.35 miles in 1:07:30 (9:11/mile) @ 159 bpm

Evening workout

By Thursday I was still thrashed from overdoing on Tuesday. It was actually painful to sleep on my sides on Wednesday night my obliques were so sore... Doh!

C2 Rowing Machine - 500 meters on 5.5 in 2:24S.
lack of core, thanks to soreness, made it hard to row.

Initial Pushup Set: 2, before I dropped to the ground in agony.

Completely unable to do core exercises

Box jumps were excruciating, but I was able to get them done.

2 sets as supersets
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Front - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Sideways - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Sideways Twist - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Jumps - 3 sets - 10 reps

12" PlyoBox Single Leg Jumps- 1 set - 10 reps each leg

2 sets of each superset. One superset cluster at at time. 1 minuteish rest between sets.
SC1: Stability Ball Chest Press - 10 reps @ 25#
SC2: Pushups - 15 reps
pushups were on the knees after the first two or three

SB1: Dumbbell Rows - 10 Reps @ 25#
SB2: Free Motion Pulldowns - 12 Reps @ 25#

SS1: Overhead (Shoulder) Press - 10 reps @ 17.5#
SS2: Shoulder Abduction - 12 reps @ 8#

SL1: Dumbell Squats - 10 reps @ 45#
SL2: Stability Ball Leg Extension - 12 reps

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12/9 Run

After Monday's run, I decided to try running the lake clockwise, on the off chance it would be warmer at the end. Not so much. Not many more runners out that last time either. 28 degrees is pretty dang cold for Seattle. Bleah. Ran straight from the office to stay warmer. LS shirt and jacket, with gloves and watch cap. Watch cap stayed on the whole run.

I swear the sun was on the other side of the city on Tuesday at this time. Very odd.

And, on an oddly obvious note... tucking in your shirt keeps you warmer. :|

6.46 miles in 56:54 (8:48/mile) @ 163 bpm

12/8 Workout

Finally got back to the gym after something like 5 months. :| The last two races have pretty thoroughly identified the fact that my core is weak again, and that I need to work on some upper body in support of swinging them T-Rex runners arms of mine around.

Decided not to get fancy and just use my existing proven workout for a while again. Dropped the weights a bit and went for it.

Val had mentioned on Monday that there was some sort of alarm going off in the training room that I normally use. It was still going off over 24 hours later. It wasn't too loud, so I just sucked it up and ignored it.

Always nice to get back to the gym and people watch.. :)

C2 Rowing Machine - 500 meters on 5.5 in 2:24.
Slow and easy for a warmup.

Initial Pushup Set: 22
down from 33!

2 sets as supersets
Front Planks - 60 seconds
Side Planks - 40 seconds
C1: Stability Ball Crunches (5 second hold) - 10 reps
C2: Stability Ball Forward Rolls (5 second hold) - 10 reps

amazingly it wasn't my abs that were the limiter here, but my lower back
my left side is still my weakest side on side planks

2 sets as supersets
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Front - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Sideways - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Step and Hold - Sideways Twist - 10 reps each leg
18" PlyoBox Jumps - 3 sets - 10 reps

12" PlyoBox Single Leg Jumps- 1 set - 10 reps each leg

2 sets of each superset. One superset cluster at at time. 1 minuteish rest between sets.
SC1: Stability Ball Chest Press - 10 reps @ 25#
SC2: Pushups - 15 reps
pushups were on the knees after the first two or three

SB1: Dumbbell Rows - 10 Reps @ 25#
SB2: Free Motion Pulldowns - 12 Reps @ 25#

SS1: Overhead (Shoulder) Press - 10 reps @ 20#
SS2: Shoulder Abduction - 12 reps @ 8#
on the second set of shoulder presses my left arm started to fail

SL1: Dumbell Squats - 10 reps @ 45#
SL2: Stability Ball Leg Extension - 12 reps

Standing Bicep Curls - Alternating Arms - 2 sets, 10 reps/arm @ 20#

12/7 Run

And the temps really are on their way down. Humidity is really low with all the cold, which is doing nasty things to my sinuses, but it's sunny, and 29 feels like 29. :) LS Shirt, jacket, and tights, with watch cap. Cap was off halfway through and my sleeves were up not much later. I considered taking off the jacket, but was really glad I had it when I hit the shaded areas on Westlake. That sun thing sure keeps things warm. :) Maybe counterclockwise isn't a good idea. I'll try it the other direction later in the week and see if it helps.

I was bored so I counted other runners. A whole 13 of us out at lunch today. Seems the cold is keeping people home. :)

6.41 miles in 56:37 (8:50/mile) @ 159 bpm

Official race pictures are finally out, and confirmed something I suspected from Val's pictures. No more white technical shirts for races. It's just not pretty. :|

12/5 Run

Slept in in the morning, and the afternoon was lazy, so I finally got out late on Saturday. Took a route I haven't taken in a while, down 35th and then up 128th and then back. Fairly flat, just enough hill to shake out some kinks.Short

Temps are definitely coming down, as predicted. 36, feels like 32, with a light dusting of snow on the ground. At least in my neighborhood. There were a couple of spots I ran through that had nothing at all. I've been wearing my watch cap for some of these runs. I'm thinking it's not necessary in the mid 30s. It's nice to have the first mile or so though. :)

I apparently can't use my Garmin properly, and didn't realize it wasn't running until about .75 in. Did some mental waypointing, and did the math once I got back to the house. Data junky in doubt. :)

5.1 miles in 45:40 (8:57/mile) @ 152 bpm

Almost ran on Sunday I was feeling so good, but I had forgotten about the Friday run until I entered this one in the log. I'm right on track for reverse taper and decided not to push my luck. :)

12/4 Run

Had planned to run on Thursday. Worked from home, having one of those days where you check your work email from the home office in the morning and then can't make it out the door for all the fires. We got home from picking up Kaitlyn and had dinner, and then I almost fell asleep on the couch. I haven't almost fallen asleep on the couch in months. I figured that was a pretty good reason to defer the run, especially given that I'm only 5 days out from the marathon.

12/4 was Friday, and I actually made it to work and ran there. :) A fairly easy run from work to SPU and back. Started the clock from work since the temps were coming down (38 feels like 32), and a warmup walk just wasn't going to happen

Wore my light jacket over and LS shirt with tights and it was tied around my waist after 1.5 or so. It's going to take a few runs to figure out this cool weather clothing thing.

Finally wore my new Books Addictions. Nice. They're like little Brooks Beasts, only in 85% scale. More forefoot cushioning than the Mizunos and slightly narrower, which is good. Good tongue and upper cushioning too. I likey. :)

5.04 miles in 46:42 (9:16/mile) @ 148 bpm

12/1 Recovery Run

Tuesday was the first run since the marathon. A nice slow and easy run to the Aurora Bridge with Bruce to shake out the kinks. I thought about going out on Monday, but I was still having trouble with stairs. I figured a day off would be a good idea. :)

Started the mileage from work instead of my normal start by the new South Lake Union Park. Bruce likes to get moving earlier, so what the heck...

A nice comfortable 47 degrees. Everything seems to be working OK, but my left calf and right knee are mildly talkative.

3.41 in 31:52 (9:21/mile) @ 140 bpm

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Seattle Marathon 2009 Race Report

A week later than I'd like it to be, but here it is. Finally. Unsurprisingly, another long one. :)

Times are a merger of my watch and my Garmin, with most of them being from the watch. The changes in pace were more obvious with the watch, so I picked that data, and filled in any holes with the Garmin, and used the HR data from Garmy as well. (Yes, I wore a Garmin and a watch. Garmy lost it's mind in the city and the tunnel at RnR. Why take a chance at not being able to obsessively play with race data? :) )

If you want to follow along:
MapMyRun Map (switch to hybrid mode and zoom in. :))
Official Map with water stops, etc

Day Before/Expo:

Thursday was the wonderful carbloading holiday, Thanksgiving. Friday, we dropped Kaitlyn of with Val's Mom, and Val, my Mom and I went and saw 2012. Fun movie. Great CGI. Technical holes you can drive large ships through, but fun. :)

Saturday, Mom watched Kaitlyn so Val and I could have a bit of time to ourselves and go to the expo. After a brief stop in Bellevue so we could have 3 Pigs BBQ for lunch, we drove into Seattle and hit the expo. Val was kind enough to drive, since I really don't like driving downtown.

The expo seemed much more organized (better banners and signage, especially) and much less packed than it was last year. It may have just been the difference between Friday and Saturday though. The expo itself wasn't quite as interesting as last year. I remember seeing more cool stuff last year. The race shirts, nice technical long sleeves, have been panned by a few people I know as being either girly, or garish. They're a BRIGHT green. Hey, it's a really expensive shirt, so I'll wear it. (Val says the color works for me, which is good. :) )

Picking up packets was pretty fast. The teenagers doing their volunteer requirement for HS graduation looked pretty underwhelmed. :) Got to 'meet' John Curley of local TV fame. His daughter was doing the chip check. Had never seen this before, they had a mini pad attached to a computer that she would swipe your chip over so you could double-check your details. Got a nice lowish bib number again (629), someone comments on the fact that I must have registered early.

Just after shirt pickup, is the SPI booth. I didn't know they'd be here, but what a happy circumstance. I'm still debating my final choice of single bottle carrier with extra pouches. They have all sorts of pretty belts on the racks. And they're so small. And only have one pocket. That seems like a dropped set of keys just waiting to happen. The sales guy (from Texas, don't think I got his name :/), comes over as I'm seeing if my iPhone will squeeze in this tiny pouch. It does. He says they'll fit up to 4 of them... Wow. I mention I want to carry my GUs as well as my personal items, and he directs to me to their 2 pouch model. Perfect. Sold. Along with the little clips that turn it into a race number belt as well. An internal pocket in one of these pouches would be nice, but this should work great. A later discussion with Val makes this super perfect; iPhone, keys, and ID in one pouch, and I'll only carry 4 GUs in the other pouch, and get the extra 3 or 4 I might need on the course.

Just a bit further down the aisle were the fine folks from Blue Steel Sports, who were one of the sponsors at Carkeek, where I found it necessary to avail myself of some of their product (they make anti chafing cream). I still do need to buy some. Duh. Probably should have bought some at the expo while I was there. Ah, well :) We stopped and chatted for a while about Carkeek, and Sam and Brock; the RDs, and my 21 laps.

Saw some great shirts and running accessories, but I can't remember the name of the company who was selling them. I KNEW I should have written it down.

We saw some people with Amica Green cowbells this year, but couldn't find any. I'll have to dig the Red ones we got last year out of the box of bits.

The charity groups were over in their own little area, and I wandered over to see if they had any swag (not really). I talked with the woman with the American Cancer Society booth. I'm intrigued. The Team in Training people are great, but they target Leukemia and Lymphoma, and I think my Mom has the right of it here... there are many other cancers out there, and we have personally lost people to those other cancers (lung, etc...). The TeamACS stuff is interesting. Especially since they tie the local fundraising to local research. According to her, the local researcher at the Hutch, was actually part of the team and running. Pretty cool, and very personal. The fund raising part is what scares me more than the running, honestly.

We finally left and drove home. Kaitlyn was down for a nap so the adults could all talk, I could test out the new SPI Belt, and then start laying out gear on the kitchen table. Race gear for me, food for after the race in case the notoriously poor post race food at Seattle was a problem, and a bag of fresh clothes. And the cowbell. :)

I made a comment to Val that I thought I was dealing with this marathon better than last year, nervous energy wise. She pretty much laughed in my face. :)

I relaced the shoes I was going to run in from the box lacing back to traditional lacing. And suddenly they fit properly, just like the other pairs. Who knows, but they feel really good to wear. A good sign.

I managed to get to laying down at 9:30, and surprisingly, was asleep shortly thereafter.

Pre Race:

I checked how the timing worked in last years race report and decided that last year had worked so well that I'd just do the same thing. So...

Alarm went off at 5. A hot shower helps me relax and is better than coffee as far as I'm concerned. Weigh in is high... 190.2. Wow. Higher than Carkeek. Guess that carb loading worked. :| Going to have to address this soon. Downstairs, deal with Toby, get suited up, make a pit stop, grab the bin full of extra clothes and head for the car. Check the weather. It's 51! Very quietly back upstairs to grab a short sleeve shirt in case I want it and out the door at 6.

Traffic is amazingly light compared to last year, and I make it in to work (free parking only a couple blocks from the start. With heated bathrooms. :) who can complain? :)) around 6:30. And realize traffic was so light because I'm here 20 minutes earlier than last year. :)

Spend the next half hour obsessing over temperatures and trying to tape my feet. For some reason the tape doesn't cooperate like it did at Carkeek. It keeps rolling at the edges when I try to put my socks on. I finally give up, and hope they aren't any worse than they were last year. I didn't notice them till the race was over, and had no problems during the race. Decided to just wear a long sleeve shirt and tights, but today's weather would have been perfect for a short sleeve shirt and arm warmers.

Bruce showed up around 7 and then Jake came in to take advantage of the heat around 7:15. We sat around and chatted about races (Jake ran 2:54 and change at Chicago. Bastard. :) ) and race goals and strategies. Jake's advice to me was to start slow, stick at 9/mile until 20 and see how things felt. 9s would get me in well under 4.

Around 7:45 we started to head up to the start. I ran into a wonderful 4 month old Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Bentley on the walk up A good omen. :) A last pit stop and then I wandered over to the 'Ducks' (tours of Seattle on WWII DUKW amphibious landing craft), to try to meet some people from the Runners World forum. Like last year, no luck. Did have a nice conversation with a gentleman waiting for his wife to finish the half, and saw a leggy blonde runner doing high kicks in the parking lot to warm up. Turns out to have been the female winner.

The finally got us all into the corrals and lined up. I tucked in right next to the 4 hour pace group with the goal of keeping my speed down the first few miles. Was kind of cool to not be raising my hand for being a first timer this time. The gal next to me was. I felt much calmer in the corral than I did last year. Less bouncing around and more just waiting. Finally, the National Anthem (take off your hats people, feth...), and then we're off...

Walk, shuffle, stagger-trot, walk, jog, and finally we're over the timing mat to the chirp of the chips and beeps of the Garmins and watches, and headed out trying not to trip over the divider in the road.

Mile 1:
08:29 @ 154
I'm on the left side of the road, and the 4 hour pace group is on the right. Ahead of me. Wait. What? Gamin says I'm moving faster than I'd like as we work our way down 5th Ave, so I let them get a little bit of a lead. I'll be passing them soon. :) Only saw one person this year taking advantage of the supports for the monorail to cheer and take pictures. That has to be a really neat spot to get pictures as the crowd charges at you and splits around you with only a few feet to spare.

Left calf is really tight, like it has been for the last week, and the front of my ankle hurts a little. Nothing that can't be run through.

The downhill here surprises me a little, since I'd forgotten about it.

Mile 2: 08:56 @ 158

But not as much as the uphill that follows, not horrible, but a surprise, like it was last year. I skip the water station and keep moving.

Somewhere in here is the guy just rocking out the cowbell. He moved around a lot. I remember seeing him at least two more times later in the race.

Still back and left of the 4 hour pace group.

Mile 3: 08:50 @ 163
Up onto the onramps and onto I-90. The road camber doesn't bother me as much this year but it seems more crowded. They did a good job with signage of dividing runners and walkers, but somehow there were an awful lot of walker in the runner space. Kind of annoying. They were all pretty good at not walking more than 2 abreast, but still...

The portasan on the freeway for the mile 3 marker was kind of trippy again. I realized I'd have to hop the k-rail to use it. Not that that would have been a problem, but I didn't notice it last year.

I pass the 4 hour group somewhere in this mile.

Mile 4: 08:52 @ 161

Up and into the Mount Baker Tunnel a little over halfway into the mile. The Seattle Atheists have their aid station again this year just inside the tunnel, and "We Believe In YOU" is still amusing the second time around.

Mile 5: 08:36 @ 160

At the end of the tunnel there's a weaving of runner that sorts the full runners and everyone else into their lanes, Runners to the left, others to the right. Not as much of a cluster as last year with people crossing over. The tunnel wasn't quite as warm this year, but it was nice to get out into the fresh air and breeze again. And this year it's crystal clear, so you can actually see. It was super cool to be running down the Express lanes of the freeway just checking out the view. The downhill off the ramp sped things up nicely. A little bit of tension from my left abs (the strain from a few months ago), so a reminder to dial it back and not get carried away.

Like this year, this is where we see the leaders for the first time. After they blow by, a guys coming up from behind and I decide it's much better to be running where we are. I mean who wants to suck the exhaust from the lead car for 26 miles? :) (Wouldn't you think they'd use an electric/hybrid car for that job?)

Aid station at the next mile marker, so I suck down my fist GU. I figure getting the water in the next mile or so will work OK. SPI Belt is doing it's job and holding things and not bouncing. Good choice!

Saw Bruce and Jake in here somewhere. And the guy going for fastest marathon dressed as Elvis.

Mile 6: 08:48 @ 165

The water stop is under the Mercer "Lid", and the turnaround is just past it. Just fare enough in that Garmin bitches with "Lost Satellite" error for few seconds until it gets its brain back. Two cups of water at the water station, and I manage not to run anyone over.

Then back out onto the bridge, but now the view has changed and it's still really pretty. You can see Seward park, and 520 and Seattle. And it's cool.

A little bit of wind, but just enough to knock the sweat off. I take off my hat for a while to help cool down a little.

Mile 7: 08:41 @ 166

Still running. :) I can see forever and the run is fun. People watching on the out and back, and I think I saw the "Oh Shit! I'd better run faster" trail vehicle bringing up the rear.

I realize at some point here that my calf and ankle stopped talking a while ago and are playing well with others.

I think I saw Betsy, on the third of her triple around here. More accurately, she noticed me, and gave a shout out. I think I saw the guy out for a ruck run here too. There were at least two barefoot runners out for the marathon too.

Mile 8: 08:59 @ 166

As you can see from the pace the uphill back to the tunnel occurs here. :) I'm supremely happy at how my legs felt at this stage. At this point last year I know I was in trouble and wasn't going to hold on much longer. The mile marker here is just under the overpasses of the freeway, and just before the odd little bob and weave down to the residential streets and an aid station.

Mile 9: 08:40 @ 165

Around and down, and water at the aid station and then down onto Lake Washington Boulevard. Snag a GU from the belt after the water (wrong order... taste of GU for miles.) Finally pry my iPhone out of it's pouch and text Val where I'm at. She'd requested a notification, so she could wrangle Kaitlyn, at around mile 7, but that wasn't going to happen with being on the bridge and people, etc...

An internal pocket for the SPI Belt would be nice. I was super paranoid about losing my ID and keys when I took out the phone and prized it from it's Ziploc bag. :)

I get to see everyone at mile 9.5. And here we are. About the same place they were last year. Val's taking pictures, and Mom is pointing out where I am to Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn gets a kiss on the forehead and then I'm back on the move.

Last year I wanted to walk off the course right here. I waited until after the aid station a few hundred feet later and started walking. This year I snag my 2 glasses of water and a GU reload to put in the belt, and just keep moving.

I had spent the last few miles tucked into a pack of runners that included a gal with pictures of her kids on the back of her shirt, and a gal who must own stock in UnderArmour. :) Looking at the pics, the UnderArmour gal has a chip on, but no bib. Odd.

Mile 10: 08:41 @ 163

I think I saw Jake somewhere this mile.

Mile 11: 08:45 @ 163

I didn't realize Iliana was running Seattle, and here she comes out of nowhere headed the other direction, probably her mile 14.5 or so. By the time I realize it's her she's gone. She ended up finishing as 9th female! Go Iliana!

Realize that my legs are starting to get a bit tired. It's a bit early for that...

Mile 12: 08:35 @ 163

A bit of downhill as we head into Seward Park. The water stop is the same place it was last year, but it seems later than I remember it. 2 more glasses of water and a GU.

So nice to run through the park and be able to see things.

Mile 13: 08:55 @ 162

A runner near me meets a friend who seems to have been a pacer for one of the faster groups. Apparently they were switching out every 6 miles or so.

The hat comes off and stays off here. I'm warming up and there's no real wind.

Legs are starting to feel more tired. Nothing left in me at the ~8:45/mile pace. I try to keep the pace but I'm slipping downward a little.

Mile 14: 08:59 @ 162

You can see back to bridge, and see all the other runners on Lake Washington Boulevard. Saw another Berner out for a walk in here I think.

Mile 15: 08:56 @ 161

Now we're officially out of the park and back on Lake Washington Boulevard. Spend the mile carrying my hat instead of wearing it.

Mile 16: 09:15 @ 161

Yay! Family support again at 16.5. Kiss Kaitlyn on the forehead, hand my Mom my hat. Double back and kiss Val and then back on the road.

Legs are officially done with the previous aggressive pace. Now we just try to keep running and hold it together and maybe break 4, since 4:45 has been out of the window for a while. I don't remember my legs giving before other systems at RnR, there it was just total exhaustion by the last few miles. With lots of time to think I think I know what I did 'wrong' with the training cycle. :) Not enough long runs, not enough medium-long runs, and not enough total mileage. The RnR training cycle was just about right. Now we know. :)

Mile 17: 09:17 @ 160

Miles remaining in the single digits!!!! Yay!!

I think I saw Betsy again here.

Mile 18: 09:05 @ 164

Under I-90. Onwards and upwards! :)

Mile 19: 09:19 @ 161

Another GU here, at the aid station that I never see on the map, thanks to a volunteer that went above and beyond. They actually had Chocolate Outrage, so I decided to try to snag one... and missed. It just slipped through my fingers. I had two more in the belt, so I just blew it off. The kid handing them out called out and I waved him off. He ran after me and gave it to me anyway. Thanks, dude. I took it a bit later, and after 5 minutes of warming up in my hand it actually tasted almost good.

Mile 20: 09:47 @ 161
Some 'light' hills leading into Galer/Madison and Interlaken. As with last year they surprise me a little. Longer and a bit harder than I expected

Mile 21: 10:32 @ 161

20.4 is the Galer hill. I don't even try to run it. At the crack where the downhill meets the road I start doing my best to power walk the longest 2 blocks ever.

And then try to start running up Madison. Which doesn't work very well honestly. More walking up Madison, but there was some running here too. Good lord Madison is long.

Mile marker and aid station are at the top of the hill. I miss my split and I'm pretty sure I passed on the water.

Mile 22: 09:26 @ 158

Just as I'm coming down the hill, Eric Sach is headed up the other way and notices me, and gives me a "Go, Aaron!" to pump me up. He's apparently coaching for one of the 'Teams' and I learn later runs each of his runners up the Galer/Madison combo. 27 miles of hill repeats. Holy god. It makes me just want to go find a corner and cry a little.

Saw a GU flask on the side of the road in a pile of discards. The miserly Scot in me wanted to snag it (They're like $5... Don't judge. :)) I didn't grab it... I still can't believe someone threw it away rather than carry it, though.

Another water station as we work our way downhill, so we can start the uphill again. I'm pretty sure I took some water, but no more fuel. The idea of more GU makes me nauseous. My stomach isn't particularly unhappy, but it's pretty clear it doesn't want anything else. I've realized this happened at RnR too. At about 20 I stopped wanting to fuel/hydrate. Not sure if I'm over fueling, or if I need to gut through it and do it anyway. Or change fueling/hydration strategies.

Mile 23: 10:27 @ 161

Interlaken. Fuck. Running. Walking. Running. More running than walking I think. And less misery than last year, but good effing lord this sucked. A lot of people bitch about how the fact that the switchbacks hide the next bit coming up, so you constantly think you're almost done... and it demoralized them. The fact I couldn't see it all was the only thing that kept me moving. I was never had a clear view of how much more pain I had to endure. :)

The TNT gang did it to me again with the 'motivational'/inspirational signs. I read the first one, in tribute to an 8 year old boy lost to cancer and had to stop looking.

Mile 24: 09:20 @ 166

We finally finish Interlaken and at 24.5 is the Krispy Kreme gang again. I pass again. They've go ear splittingly loud music going, and I blow through this Aid Station as well. And slog my way back up a hill. And then a long very slight uphill grade that just never seems to end.

Mile 25: 09:23 @ 166

The Gummy Bears and Pretzels that were down by Galer last year are up here under the overpass. The guy with the pretzels was playing with the runners, running backwards as they were grabbing for them. :)

Another longish shallow hill. I may have walked here. Not actually sure. I was just trying to keep moving and not curse out loud.

Behind me I hear the 'thunder' of a pace group. I know who it is. It's the 4 hour group. An sure enough, past me they come. Not fast, but steadily. I try to tuck in and hold on, but it's not really happening. I try to keep them in sight and hope I can catch them on some of the later down hills.

Mile 26: 09:58 @ 168

Off the bridges and onto the street again. A couple more blocks and then down the steep hill by work, and towards the finish line. I pry out the phone again and text Val. I get everything put away just as we hit the hill. The 4 hour pace bunny is holding steady as we come down the hill. She's lost all but one or two of her brood as they race down the hill, and I pass her about halfway down.

Blow through he last aid station and run by work. It's a good sign. Bruce isn't back at the office and in his chair waiting for me. :) The slog up to the turn on Dexter is miserable, and I'm able to hold off waling until I hit Dexter. Then I run again till I hit the underpass on Mercer. An nasty dip and a last insult to tired runners, the uphill beats me down. What was going to be "walk for two lights then run again" turns into "power walk" all the way up the damn thing. And then run when the lane divider ends.

Mile 26.2: 09:12 @ 173
I actually see the marker this year on the left side of the road and get the split. Very shortly after is the turn in the 'alley' that leads to the stadium and the finish. I hear a "Way to go Aaron! " from Bruce (on the sidewalk waiting to get by) and then I'm past him and I'm trying to start the "sprint" to the finish. I can feel my hands and arms tingle as my blood pressure and HR do some odd things and I speed up a tiny bit.

No pause this year as I cross the informational chip mat, and I'm trying to pick off a couple of people in the chute. Clock reads just a touch over 4:00 as I see it, and hear Val and my Mom. A couple more steps and I finish about a half a step in front of the 4:00 pace bunny!

Chip Time: 3:59:38 (-33:20 from 2008)
Overall (Sex) : 659 of 1448 (45.5%) (-25.4)
Division (Age Group): 103 of 209 (49.3%) (-19.1)

Half Splits:
2:04:36 Difference: 8:43 (-14:17 from 2008)

Weight: 190.2 @ 26% (+19.8 # from 2008)

Last Year (2008):
Chip Time: 4:32:58
Overall (Sex) : 983 of 1387 (70.9%)
Division (Age Group): 154 of 225 (68.4%)

Half Splits:
2:28:21 Difference: 23:00

Weight: 170.4 @ 21.5%

Post Race:

The finish line seems a bit more organized this year, or I know how it works now... Get my medal and my space blanket, grab the biggest bottle of water I've ever seen given out at a race, and wander in to the spectator area to find Val, Mom and Kaitlyn. I'm done. I just want to cry, honestly. The emotions are just floating around at the top. Especially when I look down at my watch and see that I did break 4.

A brief collapse/hug with Val, a hug for my Mom and then I need to sit for a second. K is being a bit witchy, and Mom needs to get on the road, so back up an start moving towards the "Victory Recovery Area". Apparently K was a pain the whole day, from when she woke up till now. I really appreciate that my Mom was able to come because Val says she would have left from spectating and I'd be walking back to the car. Thanks Mom!

Food was marginally better than last year. You'd think people were shopping though with the sizes of some of the food stacks they had. There are still runners coming in people! Sit down and eat some, and then grab my clothes and go change, get Kaitlyn on the move and walk to Val's truck. I'll ride the bus in and pick up my car on Monday.

My legs are thrashed and I'm not a big fan of the stairs, but my headspace is better than previous races. I'm able to make decisions and have conversations. :) I had an odd jangle in my left bicep and forearm for a few days, but I suspect that wasn't generated at the race. :) One blister on the right foot behind the ball of the foot as expected. It hurt more after I drained it than it did running.