Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11/27/2011 Seattle Marathon Weekend, 3:30 Pacer

Seattle Marathon weekend started out with perfect weather to run a marathon in and ended with probably the worst weather I have ever seen to run a marathon in!  2010 Pine to Palm 100 still has "the worst weather" trophy though.  A river of rain was coming down sideways the whole marathon; the wind was blowing upwards of 40 mph. I'll take hot and humid over constant rain & wind any day!  At least I can slow down if it's too hot!

Day 1 - Wittle Waddle, Delores and I took off early Thanksgiving morning in pursuit of Delores running her 1st double, that's 2 races in 2 days!  She ended up running the Wittle Waddle 1/2 Marathon with a PR of 2:42:41, impressive!  Kevin Douglas and I volunteered all day manning the aid station at the 1/2 marathon turn around.  After Delores finished we decided we would spend the night in a hotel somewhere around Tacoma so we would be close to the race on day 2.  We found the Best Western by the Tacoma Dome for a decent price and easy access to/from I-5.  Since we ran/volunteered for this race on Thanksgiving Day, we missed out on all the family dinners.  We drove around Tacoma for a few hours trying to find a descent place to eat dinner, the only place we found was the Emerald Queen Casino, $25 for a buffet meal, in a smoke filled joint, NO THANKS!  So we drove around a little more and found a small tavern in the shady part of town.  I asked Delores if she wanted to give a shot, no pun intended, we were pleasantly surprised!  They offered a small turkey dinner for $6 or a turkey sandwich for $4.  The meal was homemade just like mom cooks and it was just the perfect amount of food.  They also had great beer and the football game on, it really couldn't have been better.

Day 2 - Wishbone, Gig Harbor is an amazing place, so close to Tacoma, yet so far away.  It's a very nice small community tightly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the big metropolitan Seattle area.  This race is put on by none other than Marathon Maniac Bill Barmore.  He holds the EXPO and packet pickup in his living room the morning of the race, and once everyone has paid their $10 (food bank donation), picked up their numbers, pins, and BS'd for awhile they all head about a block down the road to the Crescent Forest trail head.  The course is a 7 mile loop in a figure 8 design.  The 1/2 marathoners run the loop twice and the full marathoners run the loop 4 times.  Yes each course is a bit long, those are free miles.  Bill doesn't want anyone to feel they were cheated miles!  Delores finished a little slower than the day before, but accomplished something she had never done before, 2 -1/2 marathons in 2 days.  Good Job and congratulations Delores!  I manned the only water station (other than the start/finish) in the center of the figure 8, with a few other volunteers.  Once we were set up I started running partial loops with different runners.  I ran with Shawna Tompkins for about 5 miles, Delores for 2 miles,  Marita Trohimovich for 3 miles, Kevin Douglas for 2 miles, and Gary Marr for 2 miles.  It was a lot of fun to run fast with Shawna and Kevin, run a comfortable pace with Marita, and run nice and easy with Delores and Gary.  What a great way to spend the day and have a good time with friends.

Day 3 - Ghost of Seattle, Delores and I stayed at my friends Scott and Denise Krell's house the night prior to the Ghost.  Scott and I arranged a few of the last minute things for the race while Delores and Denise organized all the registration stuff, then we drank a few shots of Bourbon, and headed for the sack, after all the next day was going to be a long day, setting up the race course, finish marking the course, registering participants, and all the other stuff that goes along with putting on a NW ultra’s club event.   We arrived early & started unloading all the stuff from Scott’s vehicles, setting up the registration tables, and finish area.  As soon as everything was set and the real early starters took off Kevin Douglas and I set off to finish marking the course.  We barely made it back to the start to watch the regular starters take off.  This year was kind of exciting we were going to have 2 ladies trying to qualify for the Olympic trials, Lauren Matthews and Trisha Steidle, as well as Chuck Engle running all 3 of the 1st events trying to set PR’s and win each of them.  Trisha ended up being a no show (She won the Seattle Marathon the next day), and much to our dismay Lauren missed her qualifying time by 4 minutes, kind of disappointing, but a great effort.  Chuck finished with an amazing time of 2:41, not bad for a guy that just ran a marathon distance the 2 days prior and set course records at all 3 of them.  Kevin and I had to be at the Seattle Expo at noon to man the Pacers Booth, and attend a Pacers Meeting at 2:00.  When we left the Seattle Marathon Expo we headed back to Seward Park to help Scott take the course down, whew what a full day!

Day 4 - Seattle Marathon, I arrived at the race over 2 hours early to insure I found a parking spot.  This was probably a mistake because it was a bit frigid. I was glad I decided to wear my Race Ready shorts that a tad bit longer than most of my shorts, plus they have ample pockets in the back for GU Packs and S-Caps.  Luckily the rain held off until after the marathoners started running.  Last year I was planning on running the Quadzilla this year, that’s all four races, but Chuckit Pacing asked me to lead the 1st ½ of the 3:30 pace team, so my plan changed to volunteer in the 1st 3 races then run Seattle.  The 1st 3 or 4 miles really was nice, until we hit the I-90 floating bridge, then the wind started, and the rain got heavier, and neither really let up until the race was over.  Normally I don’t mind crappy weather, but when I am trying to lead a pace group and hold a sign, it gets down right old having the sign just about sail out of your hand constantly, plus the sign they gave us was very awkward and heavy.  Bucking the wind and rain made it a challenge to maintain pace.  I was grateful that I only had to pace the 1st ½ of the race, after that I could do what I wanted.  I reached the ½ marathon distance about 1 minute early, exactly where I planned.  The second pacer, Sankara Narayanan, met up with our group about 13.6 miles in, we ran together until mile 21 when I decided to slow it down and just cruise on in a very easy pace.  The last few miles of this course were hardly bearable the wind was so strong and rain was coming down in buckets!!  I was soaked to the bone and cold.  I was never so happy to see the finish line.  When I reached the finish line I met up with quite a few friends and many of the people I had paced.  I think 10 or 12 of the folks that started out in my pace group finished with our pace group, very impressive, thanks Sankara for bringing them in. 

All in all it was a great weekend.  It was the 1st time we spent the Thanksgiving holiday away from our kids.  I’m not sure if I want to do that again, but I guess they are 19, 23, & 24 years old they should be able to fend for themselves.  It was a bit strange though not being around them. 

Kevin Douglas and I were the only 2 people in the WORLD that weekend to finish the QUADZILLA volunteer weekend of 2011.  Would I do it again, HECK YA!