Well I ended up driving up to the Christmas Marathon by myself last Sunday as Rick had sewing to do (Ask him I won't tell!) and it was Gail's weekend to work. The 10:30 a.m. start made the drive nice as I didn't need to leave home till almost 8.
This is the third time I have run this race so it was nice to know what to expect. We started with maybe a 100 or so other runners. Jim Scheer and I ran together for the first few miles but he is always faster than me at the start so I let him go early. The weather was pretty nice with clouds and temps in the low 40's. I had dressed for rain so I took my Maniac jacket off pretty early on. I was only running 9:40 pace or so this wasn't going to be any PR. Around mile 8 I saw Steve Walters running in his Santa's cap. At mile 10 I ran into Sarah who had taken the early start. We waved and high fived and went on our way. The wind was a tad breezy at probably 10 to 15 mph with mostly headwind. Since the course is an "out and back" I was hoping for headwinds heading home.
My plan was the same as usual: Two gulps of water every 10 minutes, one Gel every 45 minutes and 3 E-caps every hour. I also needed to really make sure I took those gels towards the end of the race, no matter how crappy I felt.
At the turn around I chatted with Fenny for a bit then ran into Jim, I guess he made a wrong turn somewhere and that is how I got around him. At this point we ran about 5 miles into the wind. The wind would gust over 20 mph every now and then which makes it feel like you are running up hill all the time. At mile 17 or so I ran with Leslie, a fellow Maniac. She is on her amazing 47th marathon of the year! The winds really started picking up around mile 18 with some gusts over 25 to 30 mph, luckily though it was mostly a crosswind or tailwind at this point.
At mile 20 we make the turn back onto the main highway. The wind was really howling but was nicely at my back. This part of the course is mostly rolling uphills. I felt kind of weak around mile 19 and figured the bonk was coming on. But surprisingly I felt good the last 5 miles and never had to walk. The rain came in the last 4 miles so the jacket that was around my waist for the entire race was finally put to use. I just kept on my trotting along. Yes I did trot this race. I finished in 4:28 a pretty slow race for me but I never really pushed it but never felt bad either. I am hoping that my increased use of gels is what is getting me by the bonk, or it might be I am just getting slower? Who knows but it sure feels better.
What is slowing me down is the amount of times I am having to water the weeds, 3 times again in this race and it is always in the first two hours. Some races it is up to 5 times!! Rarely do I have to go during the last part of a race. Someday I will figure this out but it usually adds 3 to 5 minutes to my finish time.
At the finish line they were out of medals as usual so they gave me "division winner" plaque, which is nice but doesn't reallyl mean anything. For once they still had food around so I made this big thick meat and cheese sandwich, grabbed some chips and headed to my car. On the way back home I stopped at Starbuck's for a latte and big coffee, my recovery drink of choice. Oh yeah I forgot about the store bought Mocha Frappacuino I had in the car! Hmmm...I think I like coffee?
So this was marathon or longer number 17 for me this year. Next week might be Pigtails 50K in Renton or I might skip it and do the Purge and Splurge 50k on Wildwood on New Years Eve. I love running these races but I hate the travel time.